'Disappointed and frustrated': City Hall and business representatives react to High Court review application on Morrison's Island scheme

'Disappointed and frustrated': City Hall and business representatives react to High Court review application on Morrison's Island scheme
An overview of the full extent Morrison's Island flood defences project. Pic: Cork City Council.

CORK City Council have said they’re “very disappointed” brakes have been put on the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence scheme, as group Save Cork City has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve the works.

Last week City Hall said that a detailed design was being finalised and a contractor was expected to be on-site in early 2021.

However, the judicial review application has been adjourned to November 3, 2020. On that date a decision will be made on whether Save Cork City can proceed with its challenge.

The group, who have been campaigning for a tidal barrier, say the current proposed scheme would cause extensive damage to the city that would find it difficult to recover from.

“The viability of our city going forward should not be jeopardised by a lack of willingness to rethink the best way forward,” the group said.

The grounds for the review include that An Bord Pleanála has also acted beyond its powers and that there’s an error within the scheme concerning rare protected species under the Habitats Directive.

They also say that the proposed works “represent a project splitting of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme and question a breach of environmental regulations.” 

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

In a statement, the group said: “We should work together to achieve a much better result for everyone that costs less and achieves more.” 

Cork City Council’s Deputy Chief Executive, Brian Geaney said the project was key for the rejuvenation of the quays and to protect the city centre.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Joe Kavanagh, has also expressed his regret at this potential delay in progressing the project.

Gerry O’Beirne, Director of Service for Infrastructure Development, expressed frustration at what City Hall has said is “the level of misinformation that is again being put in the public sphere” regarding the project.

“The public realm improvements proposed for Morrison’s Island will fulfil a long-standing objective of the City Council to regenerate this city centre area. As the area suffers from frequent flooding, it is incumbent on Cork City Council to address the related flood risk when designing the public realm enhancement works“.

Lawrence Owens, CEO of CBA said he was “disappointed and frustrated” with the move.

“To comment on some of the claims made by those seeking this Judicial Review would afford them far more credence than they warrant,” he said.

Cork City Council say the project has undergone rigorous assessment, and they will finalise the detailed design required for the tender process, in anticipation of a positive outcome from the Judicial Review application.

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