Cork’s leading representative business organisations, Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, Construction Industry Federation, Vintners Federation of Ireland Cork City Branch and Retail Excellence Ireland, have jointly called for the withdrawal of legal challenges to the Morrison’s Island flood defence and public realm scheme. The unprecedented collective call from organisations which represent thousands of businesses comes ahead of a High Court hearing tomorrow (Thursday, November 5th) of an application from the Save Cork City (SCC) group for a judicial review of the scheme.
Speaking on the potential for SCC to conclude their legal challenge to the Morrison’s Island flood defence and public realm scheme the leading representative organisations of the impacted business community, Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, Construction Industry Federation, Vintners Federation of Ireland Cork City Branch and Retail Excellence Ireland say the following:
“Securing a flood defence solution is essential to the international reputation of Cork if it is to deliver as the economic and cultural hub of our region. At the riverside of Morrison’s Island, there is a comprehensive plan to turn a rundown car park into a waterfront promenade and to protect the most vulnerable part of our city core while doing so.
Along with the significant restoration of the existing historic quay walls, the change at Morrison’s Island creates a valuable amenity space for residents and visitors alike. It transforms what has become a dilapidated section of our City into an inviting pedestrian corridor through the removal of parked cars, a new pedestrian bridge at the College of Commerce and a revamped Parnell Plaza with an attractive seating area. It is the very embodiment of a liveable city.
We ask SCC to consider whether this judicial review is proportionate to their stated goal of protecting heritage and whether it is appropriate to delay a project that has received such widespread support and approval.
Judicial review does not weigh up the benefits or otherwise of a project, a step already taken by a vote of the elected representatives of Cork City Council. Nor does it assess the planning and environmental context, a role that has already been carried out independently by An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s unique appellate body. Right now acknowledging progress, accepting concessions and building consensus is important and we ask SCC to reconsider their actions on Morrison’s Island.
Stakeholders from all quarters have engaged at every stage of the public consultation and have influenced the project we have before us today. Two weeks ago, a day before lockdown, traders were up to their knees in water, their premises damaged without the ability to secure insurance. The city and its people deserve the protection that Morrison’s Island works will provide. The severity of this flooding and the potential for it to reoccur is something that is entirely avoidable, making the events of this October all the more frustrating.
We can’t allow flooding to be considered acceptable, and we ask SCC to consider the reality of what their ongoing judicial review means for people running businesses in the area and for developers and investors looking to focus their activity in Cork. The collateral damage of flooding is not just to properties, it is to people and their ability to earn a living.”