Minister of State, Seán Canney, T.D., announces major investment in flood relief for Cork - launches Cork City Flood Relief Scheme

12 December 16

The Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief, Seán Canney, T.D., today announced a major investment in flood relief works for Cork City bringing protection to 2,100 properties at the official launch of the Public Exhibition Stage of the Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme.

The Minister noted that Cork City and County are benefitting from major investment in flood relief projects with the proposed Cork City Scheme part of an overall programme of flood relief works in Cork which will involve total investment of the order of €300 million when account is taken of major schemes already completed in Mallow and Fermoy, works currently under construction in Bandon and Skibbereen and planned works in Blackpool, Clonakilty, Glanmire, Douglas/Togher, Ballymackeera and Midleton as well as numerous smaller flood relief projects funded under the OPW's Minor Works Scheme.

The Minister presented the proposed preferred Scheme before an audience of elected representatives and acknowledged his appreciation for the committed efforts of all involved in reaching this important milestone on the proposed Scheme.

The Minister stated that he was delighted to launch the largest flood relief scheme ever to be undertaken in Ireland at an estimated total project cost of the order of €140 million in current prices. He remarked that “Today is the culmination of many years of dedicated, committed and collaborative effort on the part of the Office of Public Works, Cork City and County Councils, key stakeholders such as the ESB and the Scheme’s main design consultants Arups along with hydrology consultants JBA and environmental consultants Ryan Hanley/McCarthy, Keville and O'Sullivan Ltd. to bring forward proposals for feasible flood defences for the City”. The Minister indicated that this major capital investment in Cork City will provide significant job opportunities during construction and is further proof of the Government’s commitment to seriously address flooding problems in the most at risk areas of the country. The Minister noted the very significant progress being made by the Government in flood risk management: “I am also delighted to say that we have 12 major schemes currently at construction stage in different parts of the country and a further 23 at design development and planning stage” he said while noting also that the Government has allocated €430 million for flood risk management in its Capital Investment Plan for the period 2016-2021.

The Minister welcomed the fact that the first element of the Scheme would be advanced to construction in 2017 as part of a Public Realm project being undertaken by Cork City Council which is working closely with the OPW in progressing the Scheme. The rest of the Scheme would be advanced by the OPW on a phased basis, starting in 2018 and would be completed over the following years.

The Minister emphasised the important contribution that local knowledge can play in the development of the design of the Scheme and encouraged as many people and business owners as possible to visit the Exhibition and to submit any comments they may have.

Following the Minister’s address, there was a presentation of the Scheme’s proposals by Mr. Ken Leahy from the design team, Arup. He outlined the proposed measures which include a new Fluvial Flood Forecasting System; revised dam operational procedures to maximise available reservoir storage to reduce peak flows during major events; and direct defences through the City through the use of walls and embankments.

The proposals will be on display for six weeks until the 20th January, 2016 with comments being accepted from the public until the 17th February.

-ENDS-

For further information please contact Ciaran Conroy, OPW Press Office – Mobile 087 947 5552 or email opwpressoffice@opw.ie

Photography from the launch event will be available from Michael O’Sullivan (info@mosullivanphoto.com)