Cork councillors back Minister plea for Save Cork City to withdraw objection to Morrison's Island project 

Cork councillors back Minister plea for Save Cork City to withdraw objection to Morrison's Island project 

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Patrick O'Donovan, TD pictured in Cork city after the city was hit by heavy flooding last month.

THE Minister in charge of the Office of Public Works (OPW) has renewed his appeal to objectors of the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence Scheme to consider withdrawing their objection.

The brakes have been put on the 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.

Urging Save Cork City to withdraw this application, Minister Patrick O'Donovan said this week is crucial for the future of Cork city.

"Over the next seven days, the Save Cork City group has the discretion to withdraw its application for a judicial review of the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence project, thereby allowing it to proceed and protect the city centre from flooding," said Mr O'Donovan, writing in the Irish Examiner.

“The personal safety of thousands of people is potentially at risk.

 The civil defence working with shop owners on Winthrop Street in Cork after early morning flooding in Cork last month. Picture Dan Linehan
The civil defence working with shop owners on Winthrop Street in Cork after early morning flooding in Cork last month. Picture Dan Linehan

“The livelihoods of dozens of businesses and hundreds of staff are now at stake and those involved in trying to prevent the scheme have an obligation to consider all issues in the round.

“I am appealing to Save Cork City to allow the scheme to go ahead and not to put any more obstacles in its way,” he continued.

Speaking to The Echo, Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said that while he supported the Minister’s calls for Save Cork City to withdraw their application, he worried it would “fall on deaf ears”.

Councillor Cahill said the Morrison’s Island project has undergone comprehensive public consultation a wide range of stakeholders and members of the public have had input into the scheme.

He said the scheme’s integrated design, as well as protecting the city from flooding, will improve the public realm of an area which has become “run down”.

On Friday, Save Cork City issued a 22-page letter to city councillors pleading with them to abandon the OPW flood plans for the city.

 Brushing out the flood water at 85 South Mall, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Brushing out the flood water at 85 South Mall, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Save Cork City have repeatedly described the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme as a "walls scheme" and have lobbied for a tidal barrier to protect Cork from flooding.

In their letter, SCC said they believe the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) would “seriously negatively affect the potential of the city for generations”.

The group claimed there has been “spin” and “bogus argument” misinforming the public on the merits of the LLFRS.

They added that they believe the OPW and civil service are more concerned with “winning an argument” rather than “addressing the real issues that still remain unresolved”.

In their letter, SCC claim that the Morrison’s Island project will not protect the city from flooding.

“Morrison’s Island works cannot provide the protection needed in the historic centre because time and again it has been proved that water rises from the ground within 15 minutes of the rats surfacing in a tidal surge flood event and this is the case in the most recent flood event.

“It is misleading to say it can and it is misleading to not acknowledge the alteration to ground water and building foundations the proposals would cause,” the group said.

 The civil defence and Cork fire serrvice dealing with the flooding on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
The civil defence and Cork fire serrvice dealing with the flooding on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Martin spoke in favour of the Morrison’s Island project.

“I made up my mind on that a long time ago,” he said.

“It needs to go ahead and the sooner the better in my opinion,” he continued.

Councillor Martin said it is worth noting that significant changes have already been made to the original design of the Morrison’s Island project following the public consultation phase.

He said that he is open to discussion on the other phases of the LLFRS.

“We need to do this [Morrison’s Island project] part of it and then I’m open to discussion on other issues further up the river,” he told The Echo.

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