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Alan Hurley takes a photo after the completion of planting in flower boxes beside the River Lee at St Patrick’s Quay. He fears the new flood defences will cut off the river from the city.
Alan Hurley takes a photo after the completion of planting in flower boxes beside the River Lee at St Patrick’s Quay. He fears the new flood defences will cut off the river from the city.
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Don’t let flood defences cut city off from river

CORK is getting a 'second-rate deal' when it comes to its proposed flood defences, according to a local artist who is helping to decorate the city's riverside. 

Concerns have been raised that the proposed concrete walls will cut the city off from the river, leading to calls for a rethink before the plan goes ahead.

Artist Alan Hurley, best known for his involved with community group Reimagine Cork, has urged local politicians to intervene to preserve the city's connection to the river.

He said, "I'm not an expert and, obviously, we need flood defences in the city. But Cork city is the River Lee and we can't cut the city off from the river."

Instead of concrete walls along the quayside, Mr Hurley has called for the installation of parks along the riverside, citing Fr Mathew Quay as one potentially suitable location.

Grass would serve as a natural flood defence, soaking up excess water as the river level rises.

He said there are suitable locations all along the city's quays.

"There is a clear opportunity here to create linear parks along our quays that could soak up floodwaters and attract more people to the city centre.

"It could boost tourism and it could give people who live in the city somewhere to go and enjoy all the benefits that come with it."

Other flood defence schemes in Ireland have used glass partitions along riversides, ensuring that views are not obscured.

Under the current OPW plans for Cork, these will be used in some areas, but others, such as Grenville Place, will see high concrete walls.

Speaking at a public exhibition of the plans at Cork City Hall last week, engineers working on the plan claimed that concrete was being used in some areas to reduce costs.

They said that using glass in all areas would simply send the project over budget.