Powers-that-be ignored EU water directives

IN the wake of the November 2009 flooding of Cork city and environs it is now estimated the cost of a flood defence system is in excess of €100m.

What appears to have been overlooked by the powers-that-be is that Ireland has already signed up to the EU water framework directive 2006 and the assessment and management of flood risks directive 2007.

Both directives spell out the responsibilities of EU member states in relation to good river basin management practices and adopting measures to ensure adequate flood defence systems are put in place. In particular the directives caution against development on flood plains. All of this has fallen on deaf ears in the Department of the Environment and Cork city and county councils — the latter’s own headquarters located on the Lee flood plain.

The November flooding in Cork was “manmade” and largely down to the ineptitude of the ESB as regards the Lee hydroelectric dam. Apart from power generation, its other purpose is to control water flows in the downstream reaches of the river. The cost of Cork’s flood defences should be borne in part by the ESB given that it was responsible for the subsequent disastrous flood events which caused hardship to many householders, including myself.

Pat O’Brien

Toll House

Victoria Cross, Cork

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