We were pleased to meet with Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) during his visit to Cork city on Wednesday last, where he met with the Lord Mayor, the CEO of Cork City Council, and with representatives of the Cork Business Association (CBA) and Cork Chamber to discuss progress on the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS).
He also visited Morrison’s Island, where the scheme's main opponents, have mounted a legal challenge in the form of a judicial review against a €6.5m public realm upgrade which includes flood defences.
We were encouraged by the Minister's forthright comments in support of the scheme when he said ''We can have all the judicial reviews and all of the appeals and all of the re-examinations and reviews in the world — it doesn’t change the fact that this city is in a very vulnerable situation at the moment and it needs to be protected'' further commenting he said '' Delays, he said, adding to the cost, increase the risk to people, property and businesses, and threaten Cork's reputation as a city in which to live and invest.
The Cork Business Association has been seeking flood defences for Cork city for over twenty years. The existing plans have been developed and significantly improved upon since the initial version. This has come about by the active and positive engagement by key stakeholders. However, as the Minister aptly commented ''there also has to be an endgame. And the endgame has to come at some stage soon," he said.
"Businesses have a right to trade in an environment where they are not going to be flooded".
Many businesses in Cork city are working incredibly hard to stay open and trading in these very challenging and uncertain times. The last thing they need is another flooding episode, which we nearly had as recently as August 20th last. Remember as well many of these businesses don't have and can't get flood insurance. The Cork Business Association fully endorse the Ministers comments that “The sooner we can put boots on the ground and deliver it the better.”
Commenting Lawrence Owens Chief Executive of the CBA said
''It is deeply frustrating that we are still talking about a flood defence scheme for Cork as opposed to actually constructing one. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the scheme but not to their own facts. The Morrison's Island Flood defence scheme and Public Realm upgrade has the capacity not alone to provide flood defences but to transform the commercial life of this area and to dramatically improve the public realm."
You can watch a video about that explains the Scheme here:
You will find the complete Plan here: