Report to explain ESB decision on dam release

A SPECIAL report on the reasons behind the flooding crisis is set to be made public at a meeting of Cork City Council next Monday.

The document, which comes after three weeks of severe difficulties in the city, is expected to focus on the ESB’s decision to release huge volumes of water from its Inniscarra dam during the height of the crisis.

Since the floods first emerged a number of senior Cork-based politicians, including Fine Gael TD and chair of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee Bernard Allen, have called for an “external independent inquiry” into how the crisis was allowed to emerge.

However, despite the calls and the impending report, the council’s city manager Joe Gavin has refused to clarify what alert the local authority was given before the dam water release.

Speaking to local politicians on Monday, the senior official was asked specifically about the level of precautions and alerts given to the council before the ESB’s Inniscarra move.

However, despite the level of public interest in the situation, Mr Gavin refused to answer the questions, stating the council was focussing on the consequences of the flooding crisis first before commenting on the potential causes.

Meanwhile, almost a fortnight after water supplies were turned off across the city due to health and safety concerns, the majority of residents in Cork have today welcomed a long-overdue return of safe public water to their homes.

While “small pockets” of problems continue to hamper parts of the Ballinlough and Deerpark areas, a spokesperson for the council said the situation was likely to be resolved by this evening.

“Most areas of the city have their water supply restored,” the spokesperson explained.

“We are experiencing some problems with supply to the Ballinlough area in the south of the city where supply is being restored but is intermittent.

“We hope to have these issues resolved by Wednesday,” he said, adding that the number of houses affected had fallen from 18,000 to “several hundred” in a week. Premises that have had their water supplies restored are due to be contacted by teams from the HSE and the council as part of an extensive sampling safety programme.

Under the plan, teams will be attending both domestic and commercial properties to take tap water samples.

After a single incident in which an individual attempted to enter a home under the pretence of taking a water sample, the council has issued a statement urging members of the public to only allow entry once ID has been shown.

Any householder who is unsure of the identity of a water sample team should contact the free-phone number 1800 283 034 or the 24-hour emergency number 021 4966512.


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