4 November 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Cork East TD Seán Sherlock has said an ‘honest broker’ is needed for all sides in the debate on flood defences in the city. Deputy Sherlock was speaking on a motion in the Dáil this morning on flooding.
The Labour TD said:
“There’s been a lot of rhetoric and a lot of harsh words from both sides in respect of the decision. People have become very entrenched, and it has gone to law and that is people’s right if they want to do that.
“I would just ask that calmness would be restored in respect of that issue in Cork. I think people everywhere acknowledge that the works have to be done, but there is a contrast in terms of how it should be done. Whether you go for demountable walls and a mix of other types of solutions, or whether you go for the tidal barrier. It would be very useful to have the perspective of the OPW in relation to the potential cost of a tidal barrier. We’ve heard a range of figures but I’m not aware that there has been any active consideration given to that, or whether or not a price has been put on that. But I think what business people and residents who are affected by flooding in Cork want know – is there a solution. I acknowledge the fact that the Minister has said that he wouldn’t meet with the Save Cork City people. I’m not asking the minister to do that here. But I do believe that some mechanism needs to be found to bring all sides together, and this is something that my own party colleagues Councillor John Maher, Peter Horgan, Ciara Kennedy have been calling for, and they’re on the public record in respect of that because I think we just need a bit of calmness. The rhetoric needs to be toned down. I think public officials who make public utterances on this issue, need to be mindful of the fact that they serve all of the people of Cork and all of the views.”
“There is a legitimate question mark over whether or not the consultation process was was actively engaged with after the fact, whether or not there was a proper and just analysis of that consultation process. I’m not saying that there wasn’t, but there is a question mark in the minds of people in Cork as to whether or not there was an active engagement on that and I’ve just asked the minister to have just consideration to that issue as well. I think the Minister is in a powerful position. Because the Minister has management of the purse strings that gives the Minister weight and heft, in terms of the debate in respect of Cork City. I just would like the Minister to use his good offices to seek some sort of intervention, an honest broker, if you will, to come into proceedings, to seek to mediate some solution between the two sides, before it becomes even more entrenched.”