Cork faces two-year wait for vital flood defences

A CITY devastated by a huge flood last year is facing a two-year wait for vital flood defences.

As Cork’s flood victims mark the first anniversary of the disaster today, it has emerged that construction work on downstream defences along the River Lee is unlikely to get under way until well into 2012.

Cork Chamber last night criticised the lack of action by agencies over the last year and called on the Government to tackle the issue.

“While there has been a lot of planning, the agencies and bodies responsible need clear leadership from Government in order to move forward,” said chief executive Conor Healy.

The November 2009 floods caused an estimated €1 billion of damage across the country. In Cork alone, the damage was estimated at almost €150 million.

Thousands of householders have since been hit with massive hikes in insurance premiums. Hundreds have been refused insurance cover.

Cork Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune raised the issue in the Dáil.

“Many of the areas in Cork hit by the flood last year had no history of flooding,” she said.

“The failure to investigate the causes of last year’s flooding and concern that the floods may occur again is at the root of the insurance cover problems.”

Minister of State for Agriculture Sean Connick said the Minster for Finance is preparing a memorandum for Government which will outline options available to address the difficulties.

Environment Minister John Gormley defended his role over the last year and said some €50 million has been allocated for flood risk management measures.

He said full funding has also been made available to repair damaged quay walls in Cork city – repairs which have yet to start.

“That the funding has not been drawn down to date is as frustrating for me, as I am sure it is to affected residents,” he said.

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