CBA welcomes OPW’s decision to fast-track construction of flood defences in Cork

The construction of flood defences for one of the most flood-prone zones in Cork city centre is being fast-tracked amid criticism of ongoing delays on the Lower Lee flood relief scheme.

The Office of Public Works, which is overseeing the €60m flood defence scheme — the largest of its kind in the country — confirmed last night that it is working to decouple flood defence works in and around Morrison’s Island from the overall project, and hand responsibility for its delivery over to Cork City Council.

“OPW and Cork City Council have agreed in principle to bring forward the design and construction of the defences on Morrison’s Island which will largely deal with the tidal flooding problem which regularly affects the city,” a spokesperson for the OPW said.

“The flood defence works at Morrison’s Island will be carried out as part of the public realm project being taken forward by the city council for this area.

“Design work has already started on this and the council hope to bring these proposals forward to planning this summer with a contractor to be procured towards the end of the year which should enable works to be commenced in the first quarter of 2017.”

Further consultation on the preferred options for the overall Lower Lee scheme is due to take place in May, with construction work scheduled to start in late 2017.

The OPW confirmed that work will start downriver of the Inniscarra dam and will progress in phases westwards towards the city centre.

“By completing these works first, it will allow the use of interim optimised dam operating procedures and thereby significantly reduce overall flood risk,” said the spokesperson.

“There are likely to be four to five different phases in order to reduce disruption to the city and each phase may overlap with the preceding phase.”

It could be 2022 before the scheme is completed.

The news emerged yesterday as city centre traders breathed a sigh of relief after the city escaped major damage from two flooding events on Sunday.

Low pressure, a high spring tide, and easterly winds combined to drive a tidal surge up the harbour towards the city centre on Sunday morning, and again in the evening.

Water poured on to streets in low-lying areas such as Union Quay, Morrison’s Quay, South Terrace, Georges Quay, South Mall, Proby’s Quay, French’s Quay, Crosses Green, Sharman Crawford St, Wandesford Quay, and Lavitts Quay.

The flooding around South Terrace was exacerbated by heavy rainfall and surface water run-off.

City centre traders criticised the slow progress on the delivery of flood defences seven years on from the devastating 2009 flood.

Lawrence Owens, the chief executive of Cork Business Association, said they will ramp up pressure on the OPW and elected public representatives to deliver a scheme soon.

“We have to continue to lobby, and raise the ante to ensure the works are delivered,” he said, adding that in the urgency to deliver flood defences, the quick and easy option of “throwing up concrete walls” must be avoided.

“It must be done sensitively,” he said. “Flood defences in the city must be done in an aesthetically pleasing way, like what was done in Waterford. The river must still be part of the fabric of our city.”

Mr Owens said the issue of reinsurance will then have to be addressed, with insurers being compelled to provide insurance to uninsured businesses who will benefit from the flood defences.

Flood warning issued for Cork city

Union Quay in Cork city is one of the at-risk areas. If the Quay walls are breached here then there is a high risk of localised flooding. We are asking all business / premises owners to be vigilant keep up to date with weather and flood alert warnings and ensure regular  property check are in place during this period

A flood warning has been issued for Cork city ahead of an expected tidal surge, heavy rainfall and high spring tides.

Prior to and after high tide tomorrow morning, there is a danger of flooding in the city, according to Cork County Council.

It is possible that flooding may occur in the low-lying areas of the city centre, warned the council.

The main impact is expected to be on roadways but there will be some risk to properties.

The council has warned householders and businesses to take precautionary measures to protect their property.

Met Éireann has issued a status orange weather warning for Cork. Between 40-70mm of rainfall is expected along the south coast and in mountainous areas.

Met Éireann also warned of high tides.

Cork County Council's Severe Weather Assessment Team met today to consider the weather warning.

They carried out inspections of known hot spots in the city centre this afternoon and road crews were put on standby throughout the county.

CBA looks forward to Venture Cup starting from Cork Harbour in June

One of the world’s fastest powerboats will roar around Cork Harbour today ahead of the launch of one of the most spectacular sporting events to be staged in Ireland this year.

The sleek Vector Martini Rosso V40R race boat, which has a maximum speed of 215km and which has recently broken four speed records, will be put through its paces off Cobh from 12pm.

It will cruise upriver to the city marina later where details of the Venture Cup — the ocean’s equivalent of Formula 1 racing — will be announced in the Port of Cork offices.

Up to 1m people are expected to watch the event — the longest, toughest, and most prestigious powerboat race in the world — which will set off from Cork Harbour this summer on an epic 1,600km journey along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The start flag drops in Cork Harbour on June 11 with in-harbour racing, before the boats take in Dingle, Galway, Killybegs, and Belfast before finishing in Dublin on June 19.

A total of 25 international teams will compete in the week-long race, with celebrity team members including male supermodel David Gandy and survival expert Bear Grylls.

One of the youngest competitors in the fleet will be Adam Brennan, son of Kerry hotelier John Brennan, one of the stars of RTÉ’s At Your Service, who has been competing on the waters off Kerry since he was a child.

The race will be broadcast to more than 70 channels globally and the event will be supported by major festivals in Cork, Galway, and Dublin.

“Make no mistake — this is going to push teams and their boats to the absolute limit,” said Peter Dredge, technical director and lead driver of the Vector Martini team, widely tipped as one of the race favourites.

“This is no place for the faint-hearted, and only the bravest and best prepared will succeed. Even in the middle of summer we’ll be encountering 15m swells as we race along some of the most dramatic and demanding coastlines in Europe.”

The teams will compete for two top honours, with the winning team claiming the Venture Cup, which can trace its history back to 1908 and the Vanderbilt family.

The winning nation will be presented with the British International Harmsworth Trophy, the world’s first powerboating trophy which dates back to 1903.

The powerboat trophy is recognised as the equivalent of yachting’s Americas Cup. Coincidentally, the first Harmsworth competition was run from Cobh.

The prestigious race was formally awarded to Ireland at an official event in London by November by the sport’s global governing body — Union Internationale Motonautique — which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

The event is expected to bring a major boost to Ireland’s tourism industry, showcasing the stunning coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way, and is also expected to boost the country’s blue economy, with organisers expecting to link in with research partners, including those at IMERC in Ringaskiddy.

CBA delighted with results of graffiti removal scheme in Oliver Plunkett quarter

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Phase 2 of "Get the Island Graffiti Free" scheme followed on from the successful completion of the Phase 1 pilot project carried out in the North Main Street area.  The Plunkett Quarter was selected as Phase 2 of the removal scheme because of its flagship standing amongst the community and Great Street Award.

The project has been highly successful with over 70 graffiti tags removed from shop fronts in the area.  Feedback from business owners has been very positive.  We would encourage businesses to continue to keep the Plunkett Quarter graffiti free going forward.

CBA welcomes new Cork Airport routes this summer

With over 50 routes to choose from at Cork Airport for those looking to travel from county this summer have an unbeatable choice of destinations. Whether it’s business or pleasure, city break or sun holiday, Cork Airport has the biggest and best selection of destinations of any airport outside of Dublin and always look forward to welcoming passengers from the region.

Munster’s favourite airport will welcome at least nine new routes this summer, with a further three in the near future. New routes include Düsseldorf with Aer Lingus, London City, Nantes and La Rochelle with CityJet, Madrid with Iberia Express, Cardiff with Flybe, Southampton and Leeds Bradford with Aer Lingus Regional as well as Menorca with Lee Travel and Stein Travel.

Norwegian Air will commence its new Cork - Boston service as soon as it receives its foreign carrier permit from the US Department of Transportation. The airline is also committed to launching a Cork - Barcelona service as well as New York service in 2017.

For anyone looking to fly to the UK, Cork Airport has 14 destinations available including London City Airport, right in the heart of London. Sun seekers from the county have a choice of 11 destinations in Spain, including firm favourites of Canary Islands, Menorca, Alicante, Malaga and Barcelona. France is also very well served from Cork Airport with six popular tourist spots. Anyone planning to travel to the Euros in June to support Ireland can plan their trip with ease via the airport.

Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport said: “Cork Airport has cemented its position as the busiest and best connected international airport in the country after Dublin, serving over two million passengers each year. There is a greater number of destinations and more seats available from Cork Airport than any other airport in Munster so we are unrivalled in terms of choice whether passengers are traveling for business or pleasure.

“Hundreds of thousands of passengers from Cork use the airport each year for their travel needs and we’re expecting that this will increase again this year as we continue to add new routes. In particular, we have a fantastic choice of summer holiday destinations for families, singletons or couples from our neighbouring county. And as well as unbeatable choice, we have great value car parking at Cork Airport, costing less than €5 a day when booked online" he added.

CBA looks forward to Cork International Choral Festival 2016

Nearly 5,000 singers from all around the world will take part in the 62nd Cork International Choral Festival, an event expected to attract up to 50,000 visitors to the city.

What is regarded as one of Europe’s most prestigious choral events will take place at a number of venues from April 27 to May 1.

Details were announced at a special function in City Hall last night.

The singers will be involved in a series of gala concerts, schools concerts, national and international competitions, workshops and free outdoor performances.

There also promises to be many impromptu performances in pubs, cafes, restaurants, churches and libraries.

“It’s a fantastic line-up of the best choirs and voices from around the world,” said festival manager Sinead Dunphy, “we hope everyone joins in the fun”.

The festival commences on April 27 in City Hall with a celebration of ‘Heritage Events’ with the Fleischmann Choir and CIT CSM Symphony Conductor, with conductor Conor Palliser.

It will feature Gerald Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra with soloist Robin Tritschler and the first performance in Cork of Fleischmann’s Cornucopia for Horn and Orchestra with soloist Cormac Ó’ hAodáin.

The programme will also include Seán Ó Riada’s Mise Éire Suite along with a film of the period. A pre-concert recital will feature the Band of 1st Brigade.

The following day it’s the turn of Sweden’s ‘The Real Group’ to take to the stage showing why they’re considered by those in the know as one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles. Their repertoire consists of jazz arrangements, sometimes leaning towards folk and pop.

The theme for Friday is ‘Remembering the Rising and Shakespeare’.

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral will be the venue for the festival’s choir in residence, Chamber Choir Ireland who will perform two premières on the evening by festival-commissioned composer Stephen McNeff and the winner of this year’s Séan Ó Riada Composition Competition, Amanda Feery.

A late-night concert, Evocations, will take place in the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne at 10.30pm on the Friday.

Details and tickets: www.corkchoral.ie or festival box office at The Everyman, McCurtain Street.