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Monday 18 December 2017

City's defences will cost up to €100m

Cleaning up after the flood in Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Cleaning up after the flood in Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Cleaning up in the Marymount Hospice Shop were, from left, Cait O Se, Marie Barry, Doreen Walshe, Gregory Fuchs, William Alabe and Valerio Dicostanzo. MICHAEL MacSWEENEY/PROVISION
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

BUILDING flood defences in Cork will cost between €50m and €100m, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Kenny said Environment Minister Phil Hogan was the minister in charge of the government response to floods.

Mr Kenny said Mr Hogan and junior finance minister Brian Hayes were due to visit a number of areas affected by the flooding.

Mr Kenny offered "congratulations" to communities and groups who have reacted to the flooding by working with the emergency services.

But he was also critical of decisions taken by the planning system.

"I'll tell you this much. There'll be no more planning for flood plains," he said.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin defended his party from accusations it was responsible for the rezoning of land in flood plains.

"Cork was founded on a marsh by St Finbarr, not Fianna Fail. Let us get that right," he said.

Mr Kenny could not say when flood defences would be ready in Cork. "I am informed by the Minister of State that this will cost between €50m and €100m and will involve up to 10km of what might be deemed appropriate wall defences, if it is possible to stop the inexorable rise of tides and consequential water back-up," he said.

"This is a complex engineering challenge in Cork alone. It is not within the remit of politicians to decide how to deal with it on the basis of engineering challenges. The estimate for Cork is between €50m and €100m. Given what has occurred in Galway, Wexford and other locations, this presents a national challenge for the longer term," he said.

Mr Kenny said climate change was having a "serious and unprecedented impact" on our country.

He said the Office of Public Works spent €50.6m in Cork in the past six years.

He also accepted the €250m estimate for flood defences would not be enough.

"We have an estimated 300 locations with serious flooding and farmers are now getting into difficulties with the usual annual Shannon floods," he said.

Irish Independent

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