RESIDENTS living in the “ground zero” area of Cork city’s November flood have written to the Environment Minister calling on him to set up an independent inquiry into the disaster.
The Mardyke residents, who were among the worst affected, said they want answers before the first anniversary of the flood.
If the inquiry requires a Cabinet decision, then John Gormley should bring it to the next Cabinet meeting, they said.
The letter was sent to Mr Gormley yesterday a day after the publication of the Oireachtas report into the Government’s response to the severe weather which recommended, among other things, the setting up of an independent inquiry into the Cork city flood.
The Mardyke residents told Mr Gormley now that a review of the emergency response has been completed, a review of what caused the flood must be undertaken.
“It is entirely unacceptable that the citizens of Cork should be forced go to sleep at night without a rigorous examination of the November disaster already completed,” spokesman Barry Keane said.
“Yet this is the prospect facing them as the anniversary looms.”
They want the inquiry to examine several key areas including the impact of rainfall levels in the days leading up to November 19 last, whether 1991 remedial works at the ESB’s Carrigadrohid dam had an effect on water levels at Inniscarra downstream, and to quantify the future flood risk to help businesses and residents get insurance.
Mr Keane also said it appears as if Cork “dodged the flood bullet” again within the last week.
“In the 10 days to November 19 last, 126mm of rain fell in the Lee valley,” he said.
“In the 10 days up to July 19 (last Monday), 105mm of rain fell in the Lee Valley.
“According to Met Eireann 10mm an hour is not unusual.
“Was Cork two hours away from another severe flood by June 19? Who knows?” he asked.
The residents have asked for a substantive and immediate response from Mr Gormley and have suggested an inquiry should report by November 19 next.
Lord Mayor Cllr Michael O’Connell supported the residents’ call.
“This was something I and many of my council colleagues called for from the outset,” he said.
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