River Lee Walls Project – not a defense to flooding!

Observations or objections to the €6 million Morrison’s Island scheme closed on April 12th 2018.

The following are the comments I submitted:

Re: Morrison’s Island Walls Project

I wish to submit the following in regards to the proposed scheme for Morrison’s Island:

I consider that the system of river-side walls proposed are a mistake and should not be part of the flood relief plan, the following are the reasons for this:

  1. I do not believe that there has been either proper, sufficient or balanced consultation with the people in regards to the plan – despite its development over such a long period – in my experience, and I have tried to find out, the vast majority of people are completely unaware of the proposals or their potential impact.
  2. I think that the walls will present a new danger to Cork, making our safety dependent on the long-term stability of the structures involved. Looking at the project over the period of 100 years I feel it is not unreasonable to expect that breaches will occur in the walls, releasing a higher volume of water quickly into the city centre. Conceivable circumstances causing a disaster might include civil unrest, motor vehicle accident, terrorist attack or natural disasters such a hurricane, earthquake, sudden sinkholes, ‘acts of God’ etc. I welcome the public realm works, but not the walls.
  3. My belief is that vested interests in the world of construction, engineering and property development are driving this plan as its construction will provide a cash-flow to them for decades to come, from public funds which are needed critically elsewhere.
  4. I think that essential maintenance, to avoid disaster, of these river-side walls and other supporting works, will be a significant burden on the resources of the people into the future – it does not represent prudent use of public funds.
  5. I think that deepening the river channels by extensive dredging would increase the flow rate and allow better management of the reservoir/dam capacity, which itself could be better managed.
  6. I think that construction of an upriver overflow channel, to divert excess water to the coast (or artificial lake) via a different route should be considered.
  7. I believe that some level of tidal barrier, used in tandem with a deeper river channel would avoid the need for the river-side walls.
  8. I believe that the river-side walls will remove the river as an amenity to a huge degree. The river Lee is already underused and underdeveloped, but the walls will further take what should be a key economic and cultural resource for the people and for future generations.
  9. Finally, it will remove the need for the people of Cork to find a new anthem song, for we would no longer be “on the banks of my own lovely Lee”.

I look forward to hearing your comments on this submission.

Is mise,

Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla
Member of Cork County Council