Statement issued on behalf of Cork City Council and the OPW

23rd October 2020

Cork City Council has warned that any re-design of the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence Scheme could delay the project for the city centre by up to five years.

Re-designing the scheme, as Save Cork City has advocated, would require a new planning process and public consultation. It could result in planning appeals and further adjudication by An Bord Pleanála and another long sequence of litigation by those who might oppose any new design.

The Morrison’s Island scheme has planning permission and is ready to go if those who oppose it end their obstruction of the project. There has been a comprehensive public consultation on the project and a wide range of stakeholders and members of the public have had input into the scheme. As a result, the scheme’s integrated design combines really positive public realm improvements for that part of the city as well as engineering elements designed to protect the city centre from flooding. It is a project that An Bord Pleanála has given a positive endorsement to and as recent events have shown, it is absolutely urgent that it is implemented.

This urgency is compounded by the fact that the city centre cannot be protected by temporary flood defence measures such as inflatable flood barriers in locations such as Morrison’s or Father Matthew Quays.   The general physical condition of the quay walls is such that significant flow of water through the open joints in the walls’ structure as well as the permeability in the ground behind the walls would allow the areas intended to be protected to become flooded.

Secondly, the amount of drainage outlets would allow passage of flood water under the temporary defences.  

Cork City Council’s objective is to deliver this scheme - which should already be built. Had it not been delayed through repeated legal challenges, the scheme would have prevented the flooding, distress and damage which occurred this week.  Cork City Council works closely with OPW, which is the State agency with statutory responsibility for flood defence, and we are determined to deliver a viable and effective scheme for the people of Cork who continue to suffer whilst critical projects like Morrison’s island are being delayed unnecessarily. ENDS