Mardyke residents demand assurances on dams

THE residents of one of Cork city’s most famous areas want Government assurances that the dams on the River Lee are safe.

The residents of the Mardyke have also expressed fears they will be “washed away and found in Youghal”, if the dams fail in the event of another major flood.

They have called a special meeting in the new year to seek assurances from the Government and the ESB that the dams are safe.

“The ESB has stated that the two dams, at Carrigadrohid, and the main one at Inniscarra, are designed for a 1-in-10,000-year flood,” residents spokesman Barry Keane said. “The flood on Thursday, November 19, came far too close to the design limits of the Lee Hydro Scheme for comfort.”

The Carrigadrohid Dam was designed for a flow rate of 600 cubic metres of water per second. With the construction of a spillway in the mid 1980s, its capacity was increased to 850 cubic metres per second.

The water that fell in the Lee catchment area above the dams in the days leading up to the massive November 19 flood was in the order of 800 cubic metres per second, according to the ESB, close to maximum capacity of Carrigadrohid.

“Put simply, if the Carrigadrohid dam failed on November 19, it would have taken Inniscarra with it and a 12-metre flood would have hit Cork city,” Mr Keane said. “This flood would have reached the top of the Mercy Hospital.”

The residents want the ESB to state whether or not the dams have been inspected since the flood and to state when the last independent review of dam safety took place.

The residents criticised the ESB for describing last month’s flood as “a one-in-a-800-year” event.

“Yet, they described the 1986 flood as a one-in-1,000-year flood when it happened 23 years ago,” Mr Keane said. “How many 1-in-a-thousand year floods can we expect in a thousand years?”

The residents’ meeting is scheduled for January 11.


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