CORK City Council and the Office of Public Works has spent €5,000 in three months on a social media presence in an attempt to address “untruths and factual inaccuracies” over the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS).
A Twitter account emerged under the handle @llfrs in September which has addressed concerns raised about the €140 million scheme by local campaign group Save Cork City.
Save Cork City has been advocating for a tidal barrier to be built at Lough Mahon rather than the walled defences the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Cork City Council want to proceed with in the city centre.
The local authority has now confirmed that, along with the OPW, it is behind the Twitter account.
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran has been critical of the tone of some of the social media posts from the account and has called for the council to engage with Save Cork City over their views on the city’s flood defences.
City Hall director of operations Valerie O’Sullivan said Save Cork City has been invited to meetings with the council on several occasions and the OPW. She said the council felt they needed to address criticisms and incorrect information in the social media sphere and ensure information on the scheme is “properly reflected”.
“Members will also be aware of criticisms levelled against the OPW and its project partners for their lack of comprehensive communication about the details and evolution of the scheme in the past, which has led to a plethora of inaccuracies and misrepresentations about the scheme across a range of media, including social media," said Ms O'Sullivan.
"In that context, and in line with calls, particularly from elected members, to communicate better to the general public, the OPW and Cork City Council undertook a comprehensive communications strategy earlier this year.
“The City Council and the OPW are committed to continuing this improved level of communication to ensure the facts of the scheme are properly reflected, not only in the best interest of the city of Cork, but to set the record straight when untruths and factual inaccuracies appear in the public domain.
“At the conclusion of the communications exercise, anticipated to be when the scheme is submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in the coming months, the costs will be finalised, and borne jointly by the OPW and Cork City Council. To date the cost of the LLFRS social media presence and activity is roughly in the region of €5k, cost of which will be shared among both agencies proportionately,” Ms O’Sullivan added.