A long-awaited flood prevention scheme in a Cork city suburb has been approved – but it is unlikely that construction will start until August, at the earliest.
Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, has approved the €14m flood prevention scheme for Glanmire, which suffered a major flood on June 28, 2012. It caused tens of millions of euro in damage to about 70 households and businesses after the River Glashaboy burst its banks following torrential rain.
There have been some further flooding incidents in the area since and a number of near misses, too.
As a Local Councillor for Glanmire I am delighted to hear that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has signed off on the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme. I have made many representations to have this matter addressed so this is really a very good news story for Glanmire. pic.twitter.com/tGwcdWb6Je— Cllr. Joe Kavanagh (@Joekavanaghcork) January 15, 2021
Last September, Mr McGrath visited the area and spoke to residents associations and business representatives, promising them he would try and bring the project to fruition as quickly as possible.
The majority of them have been unable to get insurance cover for flooding since the 2012 incident.
During that incident, some properties were left under 6ft of water and some residents in a low-lying estate had to be rescued from their homes by Civil Defence volunteers using inflatable boats.
Many residents spent up to six months out of their homes due to the damage.
The OPW plan aims to provide protection for more than 100 homes and businesses in the area, with defences which will stretch from Sallybrook downstream to the Glashaboy estuary.
Preliminary work has been carried out, including removing debris from the river and cutting back overhanging trees which could fall into it.
It is very welcome that the Minister has signed off on the #Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme.— Colm Burke TD (@ColmBurkeTD) January 15, 2021
This is a milestone in a much needed project for the area and its people. It will now allow the OPW to advertise the proposal and to proceed to submissions to tender following this pic.twitter.com/Vedj6Bogfz
The main part of the project will involve the construction of flood defence walls, earthen embankments and the provision of new pumping stations.
It will also include raising the bridge between the Hazelwood and Crestfield shopping centres to allow better water flow.
Local Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O'Sullivan, who accompanied Mr McGrath on the September visit, said he was delighted there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.
However, he cautioned that the project was unlikely to go out to tender until March and the chosen contractor was unlikely to make a start on construction until August at the earliest.
Both he and Fine Gael TD Colm Burke said they would try to ensure the pressure was kept up for the earliest start date possible.
They also said they would be keeping an eye on insurance companies to see if they would provide flood cover again once the works are completed.