OPW minister visits Cork and Limerick to assess flooding after Storm Francis

Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’ Donovan today (Wednesday, August 26) visited the worst affected areas of flooding Cork and Limerick in the aftermath of Storm Francis.

Minister O’Donovan visited Bantry and Bandon in west Cork, and Kilmallock, Co. Limerick to see first hand the damage caused by heavy rainfall and severe winds earlier this week.

Recent flood events

The minister met and thanked the officials from Cork and Limerick local authorities for their preparations and response to both this week’s and other recent flood events.

He also witnessed and heard, first hand, the devastating impact of flooding on the families, businesses and communities affected.

Minister Donovan stated:

“While I am aware that this is the third time in less than two weeks that communities, families and businesses have experienced the devastating impact of flooding, I am also aware that, for many, it is not their first time to have been flooded.

The intense rainfall this week led to river levels in the River Loobagh, which flows through Kilmallock, recording their highest levels since records began in 1985.

This record exceeded the previously recorded highest level by 1ft.  

Exploring solutions

Minister O’Donovan was assured that officials from the OPW and Limerick city and county councils, are actively exploring a feasible flood risk solution for this area.

Speaking in Bandon, Minister O’Donovan said: The OPW flood relief scheme for Bandon is almost complete and the investment to date provided protection to many properties this week. A failure of the OPW scheme was not the reason for the flooding experienced in Bandon.

“The flooding was caused by the intense rainfall and the lack of capacity in the surface water and sewerage system in the town to convey the sheer volume of water.

“A new main drainage system is being installed currently in the town by Irish Water. Once completed – expected early next year – the new system will prevent a recurrence of the type of flooding experienced on Monday night last,” the minister added.

The minister went on to assure residents of Bandon, and those in Skibbereen impacted by Storm Ellen last week, that the OPW is working closely with the local authorities and other state agencies to ensure that pluvial flood risk issues that are outside of OPW flood relief schemes, highlighted by these recent floods, will be addressed”.

Tender process is at an advanced stage

A tender for engineering consultants to progress the design of a flood relief scheme for Bantry is also at an advanced stage.

“This is one of some 150 flood relief schemes that form part of the Government’s €1 billion investment in flood relief over the lifetime of the National Development Plan to 2027. The evidence from OPW’s comprehensive Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) study of flood risk highlights that this investment will protect 95% of at risk properties,” noted Minister O’Donovan.