The Save Cork City campaign has lodged a complaint with the European Commission against minister of state Patrick O’Donovan and the Office of Public Works (OPW) Drainage Department over flood defences in Cork.
The complaint claims that flood defence schemes have failed to live up to obligations that are required by EU law in relation to habitat protection, floods and water management, public information and consultation, and environmental considerations and assessments.
In its complaint, Save Cork City claims that the OPW has continued to harm the natural environment by “turning lively rivers into brown drainage conduits, destroying life, causing flooding and diminishing the environment throughout the country”.
“People are rightly deeply concerned and upset by the actions of the OPW Drainage Department on the natural and built environment and what this means for the quality of life and economic potential of the country,” it said.
The complaint criticises the presentation of information to the public on projects by the OPW and the local authority in Cork.
It also claims that OPW schemes “fail to provide for tailored solutions according to the needs and priorities of particular places” and that the environmental impact of proposed schemes is “not adequately assessed”.
It claims that the true economic impact of proposals in populated areas and areas of economic activity is not addressed while the cultural heritage of towns, villages, and cities is not adequately assessed or considered.
The complaint states additionally that environmental habitats are under threat.
“The future potential of the city, our home, to thrive socially and economically is at stake in Cork,” said John Hegarty, a director of Save Cork City.
He claimed that Save Cork City has been forced to make a complaint to the European Commission by having its concerns largely ignored locally.
In its complaint, Save Cork City claimed that submissions on the Lower Lee scheme “were ignored”.
“Consultation on the Lower Lee (Cork City) Drainage Scheme was lengthened yet hundreds of submissions were disregarded and largely the thousands of concerns were ignored.”
The complaint describes the Lower Lee scheme as “damaging to property, the economy, heritage, nature and the environment generally”.
The OPW and Cork City Council were contacted for comment.