14 May 2018

Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Comments, Morrison’s Island Public Realm, Part 8 Report, Cork City Council meeting, 14 May 2018

Posted by admin

Lord Mayor,

 My gut on the Morrison’s Island project at this moment in time is to vote no.

 I have many sleepless nights on the whole OPW scheme to be honest; it has really physically upset me. I have had many early morning debates in my head and I v much appreciate the positives, negatives and ways of looking at the project.

Currently I am here in my head.

 There are many competing demands on the overall OPW project from government, residents, businesses heritage interests, One size does not fit all the needs of the city and estuarine & Harbour region.

I v much accept that flooding- Riverine and Tidal is a consistent challenge and opportunity to the future life of the city.

 I v much appreciate the work of the work of the OPW, Cork City Council & groups such as Save Cork City in raising the profile of this important debate; I wouldn’t overall agree with the strategy of the Save Cork City – some of their social media has been prone to narrative spin at times but I v much respect the essence of their campaign, their passion and their volunteerism. I don’t agree with their terms “Walls Scheme”- what is currently proposed are multi-faceted interventions and what will ultimately appear on the Cork landscape needs also to be multi-faceted intervention. The geography of the river and estuary demands that.

 Personally, I think the Morrison’s Island design is too sterile with the metal railings, and story less. The story of the river seems to be lost; that does not mean though I am for open quays. To me it needs a little more investment to make it work better- somewhere between last year’s International Design Competition and the current plan; I recognise there isn’t an endless pot of funding; large scale funding mechanisms do not exist for Cork City Council; the pot for Morrison’s Island needs way more government funding to be honest.

 I am pro the substantial tidal barrier in the lower Harbour proposed by the OPW and not at the Little Island location proposed by Save Cork City; places like Midleton and Ballinacurra will need protection in decades to come. We will only get one shot at the tidal barrier if it becomes an option. I am also conscious of the international natural heritage habitats in Cork Harbour, changes upon which are governed by national and EU law.

 I am v concerned that any future barrier to combat climate change is not in the National Planning Framework, which takes the country to 2040. A v big discussion needs to take place in the Dail regarding rising sea levels at the country’s principle cities at least – especially the country’s southern growth Centre such as Cork.

I am not for an Independent Review; I think the whole scheme just needs much more substantial funding; I think the OPW reps have proposed a scheme that is within the national budget set and I accept their brief and hard work on this; but as a city we should not just accept the finance and not question the possibilities.

I am for calling for a review of government expenditure on the overall OPW Schemes. It is way too little.

 There is a need for riverine defences in the city but I think better ways of raising the old limestone walls need to be thought about; the pumping stations I have a v deep worry about- it is the one issue I am getting a lot of engineers contacting me on,

 It also should not be just a question of protection of the city’s heritage but it a question of how we manage our heritage assets such as the limestone wall on our quays.

 There is also a huge need to have more public information sessions- the public relations campaign around the whole project has been weak to be honest.

Overall I think we need a bigger vision, yes there has been a lot of work done but can we all live with these interventions ?”

Go raibh maith agat.


Comments are closed.