SIR – It is a matter of fact (and hard scientific evidence) that every part of the River Lee from its source in the Shehy Mountains, through the alluvial forest of the Gearagh, to the mouth of Cork harbour is threatened with imminent, irreparable damage and loss.
A river is a single natural entity, an interconnected system. This simple truth, unbelievably, seems not to occur to the various agencies charged with its care and management.
Apart from destroying the beauty of the area, the prospect of 1,000 giant wind turbines (yes, 1,000!) in the Shehy and Derrynasaggart Mountains will disturb ecological habitats in the upland catchment and significantly add to the continued degradation of the hydrology of the Lee and Bandon rivers.
The extra volume of waters that would be otherwise held by upland heaths and bogs has obvious and serious implications for those living downstream, flooding in Cork being a major concern.
Another is the destruction of the Gearagh, of unique ecological importance. Of course, developers with an eye to lucrative profits and subsidies will deny this, producing unaudited environmental impact surveys and exploiting a regulatory free-for-all.
Add to our calculations the €140 million for the flood defense scheme the OPW has just announced. Ungainly concrete barriers will screen off the River Lee, effectively separating forever the people of Cork from their city’s defining feature.
In the past, serious miscalculations in planning cost the river Lee its magnificent salmon, trout and eel runs and caused the historic crime against nature by clear felling the ancient river forest on the Lee.
It looks like the inhabitants of Cork city and county are to suffer further from ill-conceived planning.
Just as the Lee is one interconnected river system the people living along its lovely banks must unite to protect it.
A dedicated information website www.riverrunner.ie has been created to inform the people of Cork of the current happenings on our lovely Lee.