Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Flood Risk Management

Photo of Aindrias MoynihanAindrias Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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194. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he had any engagements with the steering group and Cork City Council; if any progress has been made for the lower Lee relief scheme and the condition of the Ballincollig Weir; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32798/22]

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick County, Fine Gael)
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I am advised that the Office of Public Works (OPW), in partnership with Cork City Council, is currently progressing the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme.

The proposed scheme will include low riverside defences, an early flood warning system and new dam management procedures for Carrigadrohid and Inniscarra dams and will facilitate public realm improvements. In line with international best practice the scheme will provide protection to over 2,100 properties (900 homes & 1,200 businesses) from the 1 in 100 year fluvial flood event and the 1 in 200 year tidal flood event.

The Steering Group for the Scheme, including representatives of the OPW, Cork City Council, engineering and environmental consultants meet on a monthly basis to discuss all aspects of the Scheme and my officials keep me apprised of progress on the scheme. The most recent Steering Group Meeting was held on 2nd June 2022.

The current estimated whole life cost of the Scheme is circa €140m although this is likely to be revised upwards when the various design changes introduced after the Public Exhibition feedback, and inflation, are taken into account.

I am advised that the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme is currently at Detailed Design stage and is programmed to be submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for Confirmation under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 in late 2022.

Once the Scheme is confirmed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995, and following the appointment of Contractors, the Scheme will have an anticipated construction period of 5-6 years.

I am aware that Ballincollig Weir had apparently been in disrepair for many years before a breach occurred in December 2014, which has left the weir in extremely poor condition.

The issue of Ballincollig Weir, which as part of Ballincollig Regional Park is in the ownership of Cork City Council since the boundary change between Cork County and Cork City in June 2019, has been raised during discussions with the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme Steering Group. The condition of the weir, and the objectives and requirements for any works to it, is currently under discussion by all parties prior to a final decisions to be taken on what works might be undertaken as part of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme.

In June of last year, I met with the Lord Mayor of Cork City, along with members of Cork City Council and City Council Officials, to confirm OPW’s commitment to incorporate remedial works to the weir into the construction contract and budget for the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme, if appropriate.  While there are no hydraulic benefits to the flood relief scheme from the weir, the OPW has now agreed to assess the feasibility of incorporating any remedial works to the weir into the contract and budget for the proposed Scheme.

The nature of any such remedial works will be subject to an assessment of planning, structural, fisheries and cultural heritage considerations, that the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme Steering Group has asked the Scheme’s design consultants, contracted by the OPW, to review. The consultants’ proposal to undertake a preliminary feasibility assessment and constraints study for the reinstatement of Ballincollig Weir is being finalised at present.

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