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Feb 8, 2021

An Independent Review Will Restore Confidence

Dr John Martin, Principal Officer of the OPW Flood Management provided his response to Kathriona Devereux’s article on the recent launch of the Lee Engineering and Environment Forum (LEEF) website (The Echo, 4 February). We welcome this contribution and look forward to engaging proactively with the OPW up to and including any independent review.  

LEEF is an independent group whose members’ areas of expertise include engineering, quantity surveying, geology, architecture and law.  We are not aligned with any other stakeholder group or solution. We have considerable expertise within each of our specialisms and in relation to flood defences.

Our mission is to analyse all published reports on the subject of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) produced by all public bodies, other stakeholder groups and academics. We endeavour to review them for their merits, inconsistences or errors and summarise the main points.

To this end, we have prepared the first in a series of concise video presentations on the LLFRS and the supplementary report on the tidal barrier on our website

We would encourage readers to watch these presentations to get a balanced understanding of the issues.

The ongoing scrutiny of our reviews by the OPW is welcome and we look forward to any clarifications or updated information which is not yet in the public domain.  

If there are any corrections that arise as a result of the OPW review, we will gladly amend our reports.

Dr Martin in his response acknowledged that updated costs have not been prepared since the initial estimate in 2016. We have demonstrated how underestimated the original estimates are and we look forward to reviewing the updated estimates once they are available in the public interest.

Because Cork is an historical city, the design of any major flood relief scheme should consider the surface and subsurface features and be based on multidisciplinary studies including engineering, economics, geography, hydrogeology, archaeology, history, architecture, conservation and urbanism.

Therefore, the involvement of stakeholder groups, residents and interested parties through appropriate public consultation is imperative in order derive the best solution for our city.

To their merit, Cork city councillors have twice voted for an independent review. Senior politicians including An Taoiseach have endorsed an independent review.

We believe that in order to restore confidence in the LLFRS, a genuine independent review is necessary.

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