A Cork suburb devastated by flooding in 2012 is finally due to see the development of desperately-needed flood defences, with work expected to finally start on the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme next year.
It comes almost a decade after dozens of homes and businesses in Glanmire were hit by catastrophic flooding, which caused tens of millions of euros worth of damage and left many still unable to get flood insurance.
Michael McGrath, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, has confirmed he will shortly sign-off on a flood defence project for Glanmire, after many years of delays.
The major flood of June 28, 2012 left some properties under six feet of water. The flooding was so intense that, in one estate, Civil Defence volunteers had to use inflatable boats to rescue people from upstairs windows.
Mr McGrath visited Glanmire and spoke to residents in Meadowbrook Estate, Riverstown, which bore the brunt of the damage. All 49 householders there were inundated with flood water and all but a handful were out of their homes for as long as six months as repairs were carried out.
He then went to speak to members of the business community, including those operating in the Hazelwood Shopping Centre, which was also badly damaged.
Jim Healy, chairman of Meadowbrook Residents' Association, told Mr McGrath people living there are fearful every time it rains and there had been a number of near misses since 2012.
Mr McGrath later met other business owners. He told them money is “ring-fenced” for the project and it will not be pulled to make up for any budgetary shortfalls as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said while some further information was awaited under the terms of the EU EIAR, he expected that to be completed next month and then he would proceed “as soon as possible” to allow the project to go out to tender.
Mr McGrath told householders and businesspeople this would mean construction will start next year.
“Construction will take approximately 18 months to complete. The OPW is confident that when the plans are implemented, they will be effective in protecting 78 residential properties and 25 commercial properties,” Mr McGrath said.
He came to speak to locals at the request of Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Padraig O'Sullivan.
“The people of Glanmire have waited a long time to see this project coming to a conclusion,” he said.
His words were echoed by Independent councillor Ger Keohane who recently organised a major petition to get the government to sign-off on the project.
The work will include the construction of flood defence walls, earthen embankments, the provision of new pumping stations alongside sections of the river from Sallybrook, in the north, down to the Glashaboy estuary. It will also include raising the bridge between the Hazelwood and Crestfield shopping centres.