Midleton flooding 'was avoidable with proper defences' - Coveney

Flooding from Storm Babet saw a month's worth of rainfall in 24 hours in parts of the southwest last week
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.00 24 Oct 2023

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Midleton flooding 'was avoidab...

Midleton flooding 'was avoidable with proper defences' - Coveney

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.00 24 Oct 2023

Share this article

A Government Minister has said flooding seen in parts of Cork was avoidable with proper defences.

Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney was speaking as a new Emergency Business Flooding Scheme was announced for those damaged by Storm Babet.

The scheme provides higher levels of financial support for businesses that have been severely affected in certain locations.


The flooding saw a month's worth of rainfall in 24 hours in parts of the southwest last week.

Minister Coveney told The Hard Shoulder several other Cork towns now have defences in place.

"I think it was avoidable with proper flood defences," he said.

"If you look at some of the other towns in Co Cork, for example, there was a time when Mallow flooded every couple of years.

"It just doesn't happen anymore because there's proper flood relief defences in place.

"Fermoy is the same, Bandon is the same, Clonakilty is the same.

"Douglas on the south side of Cork city used to flood very, very badly; now has proper flood relief infrastructure in place.

"The proof is there that when the OPW are able to get in and do a comprehensive job, in terms of flood defences, spending normally tens of millions of euros, it is effective.

"The same needs to happen now in Midleton."

'The State needs to be there'

Minister Coveney said businesses have to be helped in the meantime.

"The reality is that any business on the main street in Midleton that's looking for flood insurance after this event I think is going to struggle to get it, until the State has flood defences in place," he said.

"That leaves people exposed and reliant on the State with schemes like the one we've just announced today.

"That's not the way it should be.

"In the meantime, when businesses can't get flood insurance, the State does need to be there for businesses to help them get back up on their feet."

'Multiple water sources'

Minister Coveney said the storm was an exceptional event.

"The challenge around flooding and Midleton is quite complicated," he said.

"There are multiple different water sources from the harbour and from two different rivers and from underground caves, essentially, under the town.

"Literally there was water coming up through the drains, as well as a river flowing down the main street.

"It really was an exceptional flooding event, which is why we're putting in place a scheme that goes way beyond the norms," he added.

Listen back here:

Main image: Minister Simon Coveney is seen in Brussels, Belgium at an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in February 2022. Image: European Union

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Cork Emergency Business Flooding Scheme Flood Relief Main Street Midleton OPW Simon Coveney Storm Babet The Hard Shoulder

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