The flood defense minister rejected claims that the Public Works Bureau’s programs are over-designed and destructive to the environment, as the agency confirmed that a € 20 million program in the Cork City had been delayed by a court challenge.
OPW Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan said the agency was “not on a mission to destroy anything” as it insisted that the flood relief program from Blackpool had been prepared in accordance with European directives and respective Irish regulations.
Last week, the Save Our Bride Otters (SOBO) campaign group, which opposes the project on several grounds, including the 350m digging of the Bride River, was allowed to exercise judicial review over the minister’s decision. of the Expenses last April to approve it.
In a statement, the OPW said it had received notification of the court order and was informed that a stay had been granted for ongoing work pending resolution of the court proceedings.
“The OPW accepts that this would mean that construction of these badly needed flood relief works could not begin until the judicial review process is resolved, and is assessing its legal position in this regard,” he declared. “The reasons for judicial review are very much focused on legal and legislative issues.
“The parties to the judicial review seek to challenge the compatibility of certain Irish environmental regulations with the respective European directives. “
He said he was satisfied to have prepared the proposed scheme “in accordance with European directives and respective Irish regulations”.
“Nonetheless, it respects the right of any individual or group to challenge the decision to grant consent to the program or, in this case, the law on which that decision is based.”
Mr O’Donovan, who had publicly called on SOBO not to take legal action, said he “sincerely regrets” any delay in delivering the program, especially for the 300 landowners who he said declared, will remain “at significant risk of flooding” until work begins.
During a visit to Blackpool last week, Mr O’Donovan said the OPW was “not destroying anything”.
“We take a long time to develop programs in consultation with a variety of different groups,” he said.
“It goes through statutory processes, rigorous public consultation, we work with statutory agencies, we go through a process that is open to people afterwards to take up a challenge and people have the right to take up challenges.
He said he cannot and does not want to apologize for standing up for those affected by the floods.
He rejected suggestions that OPW programs were too designed and too reliant on concrete and walls, as opposed to more natural flood management options.
“We are looking at anecdotal evidence, but we will also look at the watershed and see where the water is coming from, and we will look at all available technologies,” he said.
“We’re also looking to see what’s going on in other jurisdictions, what other countries are doing.
“Engineering solutions are part of the solution, but they’re not the only one. But engineering is a big part of it, because retaining water is not an easy thing to do. “
SOBO spokesman Chris Moody said campaigners do not want to add to the hardship for Blackpool residents and businesses.
“We believe that the emergency flood measures implemented by Cork City Council after the 2012/13 floods, which involved removing a number of blockage risks involved in the flooding, have significantly reduced the risk of flooding in the village, ”he said: