Save Cork City decline to say if legal challenge will be withdrawn to Cork flood defences

Authorities say the scheme has been designed to prevent the type of tidal flood event which hit 100 premises in Oliver Plunkett St and surrounds on Tuesday morning.
Save Cork City decline to say if legal challenge will be withdrawn to Cork flood defences

Norrie Eams dealing with the flooding at O’Brien.’s sandwich bar on Winthrop Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

The campaign group, Save Cork City (SCC), says it is open to “discussion and compromise” after the Taoiseach urged those involved to drop their legal challenge to a key Cork city flood defence project.

But SCC declined to comment on whether it will withdraw its application for a judicial review of the decision to grant planning to the Morrison’s Island public realm scheme.

Authorities say the scheme has been designed to prevent the type of tidal flood event which hit 100 premises in Oliver Plunkett St and surrounds on Tuesday morning.

Speaking to Cork Chamber members yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “I would hope that the issues around the judicial review and those involved may reflect on this and some mediation could take place to effect the removal of the roadblocks to the development of that flood relief scheme.

"I do think we need to engage with all to see can we get people to pull back from where we are right now to enable the works to commence.

“I think the damage done to traders and workers can’t be ignored and I think people should reflect on that.” 

Mr Martin also pointed out that changes have been made over the years to the design of the €150m Lower Lee flood relief scheme (LLFRS), which SCC is also opposing.

“Adjustments were made. It is necessary and I appeal to those to reflect and pull back,” he said.

SCC said they, like Mr Martin, want the right kind of protection for the city.

“The first thing we would like to discuss is how to get temporary protection in place for flood prevention now and give people security. We have previously asked City Hall for this with no response,” they said.

“If we want to protect people as a city, temporary defences should be in use. It is negligent of civil service that they have not been used better.

“We are concerned that more time is given to winning an argument by civil service rather than addressing the real issues that still remain unresolved."

Meanwhile, following a review of Tuesday’s flood, the city council has confirmed that there were no issues with blocked drains.

“When the river bursts its banks, the surface water in the drains cannot dissipate into the river, as happens under normal conditions,” a spokesman said.

“As such no water can escape through the drainage system. This does not mean that the drain is or was blocked before or during the event.

“It is clearly evident by the very rapid and immediate receding of floodwaters upon the lowering of the river levels that, in fact, there were no drain blockages in the city centre.

“The council stationed staff at these gullies to clear leaf build-up caused by the receding waters thus ensuring the gullies functioned at full capacity.

“That's why the floodwaters dissipated so rapidly.

“The flood protection projects proposed for Cork city, such as the Morrison’s Island project, have measures built into them to address this specific drainage network issue.”

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