City Council: Any redesign of Morrison's Island Project could cause delays of 'up to five years'

City Council: Any redesign of Morrison's Island Project could cause delays of 'up to five years'

The proposed Trinity Bridge outside the College of Commerce as part of the Morrison's Island plans.

Cork City Council has said any changes made to the 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".

In a joint statement with the Office of Public Works (OPW) issued this evening, Cork City Council said changes to the project would necessitate 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," the statement said. 

"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," it continued. 

The comments come in the wake of remarks made by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin in which he suggested mediation as a way to remove "roadblocks" to the development of the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence Project.

In a statement issued yesterday by campaign group Save Cork City, the group signalled that they would be open to mediation.

"The Taoiseach has called for mediation on the issue.

"He cares deeply for Cork, as we do and we believe he wants the right kind of protection for people and wants to listen to people and not to harm them, their environment, their investments or their well-being," they began.

"We have asked for safer flood protection for Cork, that will work, won’t damage the local economy or harm people’s businesses, their investments or their well-being and there are many compromises that could be reached in mediation within those ambitions," the group continued.

Save Cork City also called for "temporary flood protection" to be put in place.

In the joint statement issued this evening, Cork City Council and the OPW said 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," they said.

"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," they continued.

The brakes have been put on Morrison’s Island Project as campaign group Save Cork City has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve the works.

In their statement yesterday, the group said at this time they cannot comment on any legal action.

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