Noisy prison work forces woman recovering from cancer out of home

The noise and disruption from building work on the new €35m Cork Prison forced a woman recovering from cancer to leave her home.

Noisy prison work forces woman recovering from cancer out of home

Breda O’Shea, whose Rathmore Road home bounds the prison complex construction site, said the project has made her life a misery.

“I have a doctor’s cert which says I need to rest and recover, but there is terrible noise from the work, and my house was covered in dust,” she said.

“I had to leave my house for three days. It’s terrible really.”

Her plight was raised by Sinn Féin Cllr Thomas Gould during a meeting of Cork City Council this week where concerns were again expressed about the impact the controversial project is having on neighbouring homes, including several city council owned homes and their tenants.

The meeting heard that council housing officials considered and raised concerns about the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) during consultation with the Irish Prison Service (IPS) in 2012.

The EIS predicted that noise from rock breaking and other construction work would “not be significant”.

But housing officials said the EIS’s prediction was “at best questionable, and at worst inaccurate” because work would take place much closer to residential buildings that the EIS-stated 20-metres.

The city officials suggested a range of mitigation and monitoring measures to be undertaken as part of the construction contract.

Building work began in January to excavate 26,000 cubic metres of rock on the vast site.

Monday’s council meeting heard that housing officials have now written to the IPS urgently requesting information about whether their concerns were addressed in the construction contract; whether the monitoring of noise and vibration levels they recommended has been undertaken; and whether pre-condition surveys of neighbouring homes were conducted.

Councillors also supported his motion calling for the installation of noise and vibration monitoring equipment in the properties.

“City council officials made several very good recommendations when they examined the plans for this new prison, and they should have been taken on board by the Irish Prison Service and their contractors,” he said.

“The dust has been unbelievable for the last few days, with people’s houses and cars covered in dust. A lot of the heavy work has been carried out by now, but Breda and her neighbours are facing this kind of disruption for another 18 months.”

The IPS said its contractors have a range of traffic management measures in place around the site, and they insisted that no construction activity takes place before 8am.

But an IPS spokesman was not in a position last night to respond in detail to the city council’s requests for specific information.

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