Traders demand defence plan

Enough reports — we need action now.

Traders demand defence plan

That was the message to the Government from Cork’s business community last night as it cleaned up after the second flood in a week which, combined, have caused an estimated €50m worth of damage.

Cork Business Association and Cork Chamber have agreed to work together to ramp up pressure on the Government to fast-track delivery of a multimillion-euro flood defence scheme.

They are expected to demand a clear commitment on funding for the scheme from Brian Hayes, the minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, at a meeting with city councillors and senior city management in the city later.

CBA spokeswoman and cafe owner Claire Nash said traders need clarity on the OPW’s flood defence proposals, which have been worked on since 2009 and which are due for publication before year’s end.

However, with construction of the scheme not expected before 2017, Ms Nash said the city needs action now.

“From a trading point of view, from a revenue, from a city point of view, we’re passionate about our city,” she said. “We’re going to get up and get at it.

“But we’re going to work now with city council and the powers that be on this issue. It needs to happen now.”

Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien welcomed tonight’s meeting with the minister.

“A real and substantial plan to stop this type of tidal flooding needs to be funded and commenced,” he said.

“The days of jumping from crisis to crisis has to be stopped.”

Local Independent councillor Mick Finn also demanded an immediate State response.

“We are waiting for a flood prevention plan from the OPW for five years — that is an absolute disgrace,” said Mr Finn.

“Flood mapping was done six years ago; enough of the reports, we need action.”

Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s Emmet O’Halloran and John Buttimer were among councillors who led calls for a free parking initiative.

“The next few days will be crucial for many small traders in the city,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Cork City Council now needs to provide tangible support to these businesses.

“Traders need it now more an ever. We could play some small part in safeguarding jobs.”

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