GAA club told remove anti-flood measure or face legal action

A Cork GAA club has been ordered to remove a new rock embankment or face the possibility of High Court action by the local authority.

A registered letter was sent by the director of services at Cork County Council’s planning department to Glanmire GAA Football Club yesterday.

The club has defended its actions saying it is only replacing a bank on the Glashaboy river destroyed by flooding last June. But the local authority’s engineering department says the anti-flooding measure could put families at greater risk of flooding as floodwater will be pushed up and downstream.

In the letter, the council warned that the new embankment and the removal of trees from the river is a risk to public health.

Residents in a nearby housing estate have described themselves as “very nervous” since the local club started building the embankment.

Glanmire GAA Football Club was told verbally to halt the construction of the rock armoured wall earlier this week. It has not yet done so.

The club said the work was “routine maintenance” and in the interests of the wider community.

No permission was obtained from Cork County Council, Inland Fisheries, or the National Parks and Wildlife Services for the flood prevention works.

The club also cut down a number of trees on the riverbank facing the club’s grounds and removed fallen trees from the Glashaboy river.

Meadowbrook Residents Association chairman Jim Healy said: “We are very nervous of anything which could impact on our estate because of our recent history. The GAA pitch is a natural flood plain. If you hold some of that water off the plain, it will impact on us downstream.”

Up to 70% of the Meadowbrook residents remain out of their homes since the last flood. Mr Healy said insurance payments were coming in “dribs and drabs” and insurance companies were “fighting us every step of the way”.

Mr Healy said residents would rather “nobody begins any flood relief measures until consultants devise a flood mitigation plan for the wider area”.

“In Meadowbrook, we are all facing the prospect of not getting flood insurance. The only hope we might get that insurance again in the future is if there is a well-devised scheme put in place so what happened in June never happens again,” he said.

The residents said they are waiting to see what consultants will suggest in their report ordered by Cork County Council. The report should be published by the middle of next year.

County engineer Noel O’Keeffe yesterday said in the event of the Glashaboy river flooding, the GAA club’s new rock embankment could cause serious damage to properties upstream and downstream.

Last June, up to 60 houses were flooded in the Glanmire area. It is believed an estimated €5m is needed for flood relief works to prevent a repeat episode.

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