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Taoiseach pledges support for businesses in Cork after severe flooding

High tide was expected at 8.35am, and brought heavy flooding to areas of the city.

Updated Oct 20th 2020, 3:45 PM

SERIOUS FLOODING AFFECTED parts of Cork city centre this morning, with many businesses and shops left under a metre of water. 

High tide was due to hit at 8.35am, and it brought water pouring onto main streets in the city. 

The council said that water began to move onto Oliver Plunkett Street at 8.48am.

Flooding also affected areas such as South Mall, South Terrace, Cornmarket Street and the quays. Cars left on a number of streets overnight were badly damaged.

The flooding has subsided in many areas, with the Civil Defence supporting efforts to clear water from the streets.

In an update just before midday, Cork City Council said: “Waters have receded although there is still some ponding on Oliver Plunkett Street and its side streets. City Council Operations crews, Civil Defence and Fire Service are on site with jet vacs and pumps to remove water.”

Local property owners will be able to collect gel bags to further protect their premises/home at the council depot on Anglesea Terrace or collect gel or sand bags from the civic amenity site at Tramore Valley Park from 1pm until 5pm today. 

In a statement this afternoon, Taoiseach – and Cork South-Central TD – Micheál Martin said the government would ensure supports are given to businesses affected by the flooding.

At this morning’s Cabinet meeting, ministers agreed in principle to provide the required supports to those affected by the flooding under existing humanitarian and business schemes.

Martin said: “This latest flood event is deeply distressing for business owners in the city. This is a critical time for traders, and they are now facing into another clean-up operation following this morning’s flooding… We will ensure that [support] schemes are activated without delay.

I would encourage business owners to apply for the funding which is being made available to them. Today’s flood event, which has caused damage estimated to run into millions of euro, is further evidence of the need to progress flood defence works in the city to prevent such flooding occurrences in the future.

‘We must start making progress’

Cork Chamber, meanwhile, has urged people to show support for their local businesses by seeking out local traders when shopping online, with Level 5 restrictions looming.

Speaking of flood defences, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO, said: “We cannot go on allowing our best approach to be based on luck. We are again grappling with the devastating effects of spring tides, wind and rain on our city centre, and at a time when businesses are already under incredible stress and pressure with Level 5 Covid restrictions coming into play.”

Healy claimed “had the Morrisons Island flood defences been in place, today’s flooding would not have occurred”. 

“We have a solution, and we must start making progress. The Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme is ready to go,” Healy said. 

“Along with protecting against flooding events like that seen this morning, the flood relief scheme for the city will see over 3km of our historic masonry quay wall cleaned, repointed and restored, along with new plazas, river access, river front walkways and civic amenities,” he said.

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Met Éireann has said the flood risk had increased since yesterday due to stronger south easterly winds, with a Status Yellow rainfall warning in place.

Last night, there were sections of Wandesford Quay flooded at high tide along with other localised flooding but the council said there was “greater concern” over the flooding risk this morning.

Flooding is also affecting other parts of the county, including in Bantry, Kinsale, Youghal and Carrigaline.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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