The major flood relief works planned for Cork City must result in insurance companies being willing to provide flood cover to households and businesses in Cork City once again, according to Cork South Central Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath raised the issue of the Cork flood relief scheme with the OPW during their appearance at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform today.

Deputy McGrath stated, “In September, the representative body for insurance companies signalled that, based on the plans they had seen for the Cork flood relief scheme, the proposed works would not reduce the risk of flooding sufficiently to allow them provide flood cover to households and businesses in Cork City. I raised this issue directly with the OPW today and I emphasised the need for the planned scheme to satisfy the concerns of the insurance sector so that flood cover can be reinstated to businesses and households. It is essential that homes and businesses in Cork City can access flood insurance cover at a reasonable cost as quickly as possible. The present situation is completely unsustainable with so many families and business owners are exposed to massive risk.

“The Director of Engineering at the OPW, Tony Smith, assured me today that it was engaging with the insurance sector to address these issues. I advised the OPW that flood cover was now increasingly difficult to get, even for residents living well outside the city centre and that this issue needs to be dealt with as part of the flood relief scheme. In terms of the overall timeframe for the scheme, I was advised that the statutory exhibition will take place in Spring 2015. It is hoped that the detailed design can then be completed in the subsequent months and that civil works will begin in 2016. The OPW estimated today that the works will take 4-5 years to complete.

“Political pressure must be brought to bear on the OPW on a continuous basis to ensure this scheme progresses as quickly as possible. The tendency is for major schemes like the Cork City flood relief scheme to drag on over many years unless there is a concerted and sustained effort to move it forward. The dreadful flooding of Cork City in 2009 has been followed by a number of other serious flood events. This is likely to keep happening until a comprehensive, multi-million flood relief scheme is implemented. It is in all of our interests to get this job done quickly and to do it right.”