Wednesday, 18 November 2020
I am just making the point that every debate this week has been truncated and many of us cannot get in to speak. That is not good enough for the Upper House of the Oireachtas.
I commend the Minister of State, Deputy O'Donovan, on his handling of his ministerial responsibility for the OPW and his courage and bravery in taking on vested interests and putting forward a vision and a plan for the city of Cork to rescue our city from the ongoing threat of flooding. He has done more than many to raise the need for this lower flood relief scheme to go ahead. If we had begun the work on Morrison's Island, 80% of it would be completed by now. I challenge any Member of this House or anyone outside it to visit the city and look into the faces and eyes of the traders and residents affected by flooding, as many of our colleagues have said of their areas. This is not about partisan politics, parochialism or having a monopoly on doing what is best for our areas. This is about ensuring a good quality of life for the businesses and families of our inner city in Cork and ensuring that our central business district can flourish. We can talk about Covid-19 and have all the grandiose plans and alternative arrangements, but the OPW has been involved in flood relief since the State was founded. It is about time people copped on. We have had extensive public consultation across the country, in every region. People should realise that the only motivation of the OPW is to protect and save. I stand four-square with the Minister of State on Cork city. He has my full support. We have had almost 20 years of engagement; it is time we delivered.