FEARS that a project designed to contain surface water flooding at ‘The Cutting’ in Skibbereen may not solve it, were expressed at a meeting of the Western Committee of Cork County Council.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) made the remark after listening to a report by the county engineer, Kevin Morey, in relation to recent flood events in Bantry, Skibbereen, Rosscarbery, Rathbarry and Dunmanway.
In the case of Skibbereen, Mr Morey asserted that the solution to the flooding at Bridge St is a chamber, or sump, at Rossa Road, otherwise known as ‘The Cutting’.
Mr Morey said work on the chamber, which is designed to contain surface water run-off from a hill, had been finalised. ‘We believe that addresses the issue,’ he told councillors attending the meeting.
Not so, said Cllr Carroll. ‘In the eyes of the people there, that is not the solution. Heavy rainfall brings down soil (and debris) from land at the top and as long as it continues to do that, the chamber will silt-up and become blocked.’
Cllr Carroll suggested that the Council needs to either clear or install drains, and other measures, further up on the high ground rather than just relying on the sump to carry huge quantities of surface water. ‘Very heavy rainfall is going to block it again,’ warned Cllr Carroll, who recommended that an online meeting between the Council and the local residents and business people should take place as a matter of urgency.
Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) requested that two drains in front of the Eldon Hotel, should be fitted with a quick release mechanism.
Mr Morey said he understood that people living and working in the area ‘continue to have anxiety around it.’
But he stressed that the Council is part of ‘a multi-stage process and is not ignoring the impacts of the water and its management on high ground.’
Meanwhile, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan has welcomed the €5.2m for the repair of flood damaged West Cork roads, including Rosscarbery, Glandore, Rathbarry, Connonagh, Skibbereen and Bantry but said flood works programmess need to be urgently expedited. ‘Expediting Bantry’s flood defence works is extremely high on my agenda and I will continue to seek a response from Public Works Minister Patrick O’Donovan on that.’
Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns agreed there was a ‘clear need to accelerate planned flood defence projects.’