Minister O’Donovan visits Skibbereen to view flood damage

21 August 2020
By Bryan Smyth

County Cork Flooding

The Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan TD today (21 August 2020) visited Skibbereen to meet with those affected by the flooding which occurred in Bridge Street and the Cork Road on Wednesday night and to see for himself what was the cause of the flooding.

Speaking in Skibbereen today, Minister O’Donovan extended his sincere sympathies to all those impacted by the flooding and was anxious to allay any concerns amongst the residents and business people of the town that the main OPW flood defence works, now substantially completed, had in any way failed or were to blame for the flooding. He said “My heartfelt sympathies are with all those people and businesses that suffered damage on Wednesday evening. Having witnessed the terrible damage from flooding in other areas of West Cork only last week and now here again in Skibbereen as a result of Storm Ellen I am seeing at first hand the havoc and destruction that severe weather and intense rainfall can cause to communities. It has been explained to me that the flooding in Bridge Street on Wednesday was caused by a capacity issue and blockage in a storm drain at the Cutting/Rossa Road and was not in any way connected with a failing in the main OPW flood defences now installed in the town. I would like to assure the people of Skibbereen that I and my officials are fully satisfied that the main flood scheme is working effectively and has ensured that more widespread flooding and damage in the town has been avoided.”

Cork County Council is undertaking works to address the problem with the culvert at the Cutting/Rossa Road but these are not yet fully completed. The Council will review and assess the situation at this location in light of the flooding incident on Wednesday evening to ensure that the works to be completed will provide and effective solution to the flooding problem.

The other flooding that occurred was at the Cork Road and this was again completely separate from the main flood relief scheme and due to an undersized culvert under the main N71 road. The Minister was glad to be in a position to say that the required funding has now been confirmed from both Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the OPW to enable the Council to proceed with the necessary culvert upgrade works at this location. Minister O’Donovan said: “The OPW, Cork County Council and TII are working constructively together to ensure that the necessary works to upgrade the culvert crossing at the Cork Road which caused the flooding at that location on Wednesday night can be carried out without further delay. I am pleased that the required funding for these works is now in place and that the Council can move ahead with undertaking the works needed as quickly as possible”

The Minister was anxious to emphasise the close working relationship between the OPW and other State bodies, particularly Local Authorities, in addressing flooding problems throughout the country. In relation to Cork specifically the Minister said: “Cork County Council has worked in close partnership with the Office of Public Works for many years on various major flood relief schemes across the county – with Skibbereen, Mallow and Fermoy completed, Bandon substantially complete and the works at Clonakilty in the final stages of construction. Future schemes are being planned in Midleton, Ballymakeera and Bantry. All of these schemes are being fully funded by the Office of Public Works. My Office also manages a Minor Flood Mitigation Works Scheme – to provide funding to local authorities for small, localised schemes in areas impacted by river and coastal flooding – over €39m has been provided since the Scheme started in 2009. All of this work in Cork and in other counties and the significant funding already provided and to be provided for flood relief under Project Ireland 2040 demonstrates the serious commitment of the Government to tackle comprehensively the most significant areas of flood risk throughout the country.”

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