UCC welcomes supreme court ruling on 2009 flooding

The Supreme Court found the ESB was guilty of negligence concerning extensive flood damage to buildings on the campus of UCC.
UCC welcomes supreme court ruling on 2009 flooding
Lewis Glucksman Art Gallery in UCC, Cork. One of Ireland's most prestigious art galleries, packed with priceless works of art, was left swamped by the worst flooding in Cork in living memory. File picture.

University College Cork (UCC) has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court regarding conduct by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) during the 2009 floodings of Cork City.

The Supreme Court ruled the ESB was guilty of negligence concerning extensive flood damage to buildings on the campus of UCC.

In a subrogated claim on behalf of its insurer Aviva, UCC claimed the ESB's management of water releases from two hydro-electric dams on the River Lee led to significant unnecessary additional flooding causing substantial damage to 29 buildings on its campus in 2009.

The ESB had denied liability and argued the existence of the dams had reduced the level of water that came down to UCC.

In a statement, the university said: "UCC and Aviva would like to thank the Supreme Court for the time it has taken in hearing and considering this long-running and complex case.

"UCC and Aviva will consider the implications of the Court's decision with its legal team in the coming days.

"Aviva is committed to promoting awareness of the importance of flood risk management and this ruling provides an important clarification on the obligations of dam operators and property owners in the sphere of flood management."

The university and insurer thanked UCC staff for their co-operation throughout the case.

ESB may be facing a huge damages bill after the landmark ruling and a hearing to assess damages in the UCC case will proceed before the High Court on a date to be fixed.

The extent of damages will depend on the Supreme Court's decision on a cross-appeal, yet to be heard, concerning whether there was contributory negligence by UCC in relation to the extent of the flood damage.

The Supreme Court needed to determine whether the ESB had a liability for the flooding with the majority concluding that the ESB was, on the facts and the law, guilty of negligence.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up