A number of flood-prone areas in Co Cork are still waiting to hear from the OPW about a start date for long-promised flood relief projects.
While the town of Midleton suffered extensive damage during last month’s Storm Babel, Rathcormac and Carrigaline were also impacted, but Cork County Council officials say they have yet to be given a start date for flood defences.
Rathcormac was hit by flooding on two separate occasions last month and local councilors say they are frustrated by the OPW’s failure to progress on works.
The OPW signaled a number of years ago that Rathcormac was part of “a package” of flood relief schemes around the country which were to proceed.
Although all the preparatory work has been undertaken. construction has not yet started.
Cork County Council assistant chief executive Kevin Morey said he “understands the real concern and urgency” coming from locals and public representatives for the need for action.
He said proposed schemes for Rathcormac and Kanturk “had been on the [OPW] list for a long time”, and while senior local authority officials will again push for a start-up date for the project, the council is examining interim measures it can take to prevent further flooding in Rathcormac.
Fianna Fáil councilor Willie O’Leary, who lives in the village, said there were two successive Wednesdays in October when homes and businesses were damaged and locals are frustrated by the lack of response from OPW.
A local committee has been established to lobby for the scheme and according to Fine Gael councilor Kay Dawson they are prepared “to row in themselves” and do whatever they can to help any defense work.
She said she had contacted Minister for State at the OPW Patrick O’Donovan and he is willing to come to Rathcormac and see the situation for himself.
Senior council officials have also admitted they have heard nothing from the OPW in relation to flood defense works for Carrigaline.
In 2010 the OPW said a flood prevention scheme was not warranted for Carrigaline, but a decade later said a scheme was viable.
The town’s main street was closed off due to flooding in late August and again last month, severely impacting businesses.
Gillian Vaughan, a senior engineer in the council’s flood department, told councilors representing the Carrigaline Municipal District that since the 2020 decision that a Carrigaline scheme was viable, the council had heard nothing from the OPW about advancing such a project.
She said her department would support any push by councilors to get this information.
Carrigaline-based Fine Gael councilor Jack White won unanimous support from colleagues to seek an up-to-date report from the OPW on what it intends to do to prevent further flooding in the town.
I have pointed out that Carrigaline is prone to tidal and river flooding, which when combined can be devastating.