Cork flood victims seek review of ESB operations

THE solicitor advising victims of last year’s devastating Cork flood has called for the establishment of a national dam authority to hold the ESB accountable.

As the city’s flood victims marked the first anniversary of the disaster yesterday, Joe Noonan, honorary legal adviser to the Cork Flood Action Committee, said some form of independent watchdog is needed to oversee how the state-owned company manages its hydroelectric dams.

The company released millions of tonnes of water from its Inniscarra Dam, 12km west of Cork city, on the night of November 19 last.

The torrent swept downstream and engulfed the city as people slept, causing an estimated €150 million worth of damage to public and private property.

The fallout has been immense. Insurance premiums have soared, some flood victims can no longer get flood insurance, and city sites have been declared unsuitable for development because of perceived flood risk.

An Oireachtas Committee recommendation that the disaster be subject to an independent expert review has yet to be implemented.

No flood defences have been built, there is no early warning system in place, and a quay wall which was breached by flood waters has yet to be repaired.

Mr Noonan said the public agencies paid to protect the city have failed in their duty.

Picture: Barry Keane, Mardyke residents spokesman, (left) and Ciaran Baxter of Baxter & Associates, Grenville Place, with a birthday cake marking the first anniversary of the sandbags at Grenville Place, Cork, which was flooded on the same day last year. Picture: Denis Minihane.

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