Letters to the Editor: Climate crisis reality brought right to our doorstep

The devastating flooding in Midleton has brought a clearer awareness of the reality of the climate emergency home to our doorstep
Letters to the Editor: Climate crisis reality brought right to our doorstep

Emergency personel working in the floods in Main street Midleton. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The devastating flooding in Midleton has brought a clearer awareness of the reality of the climate emergency home to our doorstep.

With people’s homes, businesses, livelihoods, work vans, and cars so heartbreakingly impacted, there is a road to recovery ahead for so many people.

Midleton has a very strong community spirit, and we know that our community’s solidarity is everything.

The tremendous help and care brought forward by so many local people, families, emergency teams, gardaí, army, civil defence, fire service, coast guards, farmers, and more, has been incredible.

Fair play to our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for his prompt visit to Midleton, and for assuring our community that humanitarian financial aid will be put in place so that families and businesses who have been devastatingly impacted can recover, and so infrastructure can be fully repaired.

Critically essential as this recovery fund and plan is, we absolutely also need more than that.

Since 2010, under the EU Floods Directive on the assessment and management of flood risks, EU countries are required to assess all areas where significant floods could take place, map the flood extent, assets, and humans at risk in these areas, and take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk.

The rights of the public to access this information and to have a say in the planning process are also important elements of the directive.

Our leaders have a responsibility to help our villages, towns, and cities prepare for disasters like floods, receive flood protection in advance of any further flood disaster striking, and increase the capacity to respond and recover when disasters hit.

How is it that the householders, schools, and business owners in Midleton, a town so prone to flooding, were not protected under these schemes before now? Many local people had asked for this protection.

Previously flood-prone towns including Mallow, Fermoy, Bandon, and Clonmel thankfully escaped Storm Babet without damage, thanks to the Office of Public Works (OPW) protection schemes.

A long-awaited flood defence scheme remains in the planning stage for Midleton, with construction work not expected before 2025, and as a town devastated by floods before, we need this — yesterday.

Storm Babet isn’t a once-off. The climate emergency isn’t going away.

Just as the UN has an international agency on Disaster Risk Reduction, I’m persuaded we need a similar department in our Government here.

Lynda Morrissey



Unblocking drains goes a long way

One of the major reasons why flooding takes place on our streets and roads is because of blocked shores and drains.

Not a great deal of attention is given to water evacuation infrastructure by local authorities, which is one of its greatest failings.

When flood water persists, efforts are made to unblock shores and drains, which proves that not enough effort is being made to unblock them in the first place. Every year when rain is heavy, many businesses and homes are flooded unnecessarily because of blocked drains and shores.

This is undoubtedly increasing insurance premiums and costing jobs because businesses have to close. We have all seen many drains and shores choked with debris, leaves, and earth.

There are thousands of these drains all over the country which are crucial to deflecting rainwater away from properties with rain water where it can do serious damage. Far more needs to be done to unblock infrastructure which is designed to give relief when rain water is heavy and tides are high. We have got to recognise the value of unblocking drains and shores, which should be done regularly and especially before heavy rain.

Let’s not be lazy in unblocking infrastructure that is designed to give relief when rains and tides are high. Because all we are going to end up doing is paying through the nose with higher premiums.

Maurice Fitzgerald



Better fix than repair

After the recent floods in the Cork area, it seems that the Government would rather repair the damage than fix the problem.

Kevin Devitte



Apportion blame for planning failure

I’ve read that a flood alleviation plan was approved for Middleton in 2015 but was not carried out. Why?

Did the town council request funding for the approved undertaking? If so, was it refused? What input did Cork County Council have in this?

This recent flood was devastating with more than a metre of water on Main St and obviously the consequent damage will be substantial. From what I understand, local traders have failed to get flood insurance, so can they avail of financial help from public funds? 

If the failure to provide the promised flood alleviation plan was down to lack of input by the responsible council or state body, then blame must be apportioned and the locals, traders, and residents should be compensated.

Desmond Murphy

Douglas Rd


Nine of the most terrifying words

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, on a visit to Midleton, told the people of the flooded town that he was from the Government and they were there to help.

One can only conclude that An Taoiseach doesn’t subscribe to the former US president Ronald Reagan’s suspicions about the effectiveness and morality of the role of Government in people’s lives when he said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help”.

John Coughlan



Rethink taxing waste

When is the political hypocrisy going to stop on the environmental issue of enormous importance to every man, woman, and child in this country?

My frustration continues to increase at the failure of successive governments to give consideration to my advocacy based on the principle that all waste be taxed at the point of creation — in contrast to the present situation where the taxation of waste is not contemplated until it is about to be deposed.

It is only under such circumstances that the environmental consequences of the quality and quantity of waste can be tackled in a proactive fashion.

The present reactionary methods adopted by national and local Government have only resulted in the amount of waste being created escalating, while the quality of the waste is ever increasing the significance of the threat to our environment.

I can only hope that with national and local elections scheduled for next year, that your readership will put the concept of taxation on waste at the point of creation high on the political agenda.

Tadhg O’Donovan



Old Testament taught us kindness too

Jim Cosgrove says “we live with an Old Testament mentality”, but does the Old Testament have an oft repeated, oft misunderstood injustice?

“An eye for an eye” was not an exhortation to violence but an attempt to limit vengeance.

Bronze Age society was simply not ready to hear Jesus’ teaching of “turn the other cheek” and even 1,800 years later, it did not go down well with everyone.

Jesus made this crystal clear in Matthew 19:8. In relation to the current conflict in Palestine, as most Israeli Jews reject the message of the New Testament, it is hardly logical to expect them to be familiar with “turn the other cheek” or live by its precepts.

However, they ought at least be familiar with the Old Testament as it forms part of their own sacred scripture. Contrary to popular belief, the Old Testament is full of verses reminding the Hebrews to be kind to the stranger, for they too “were once foreigners in the land of Egypt’, not to maltreat the widow or orphan and so on: Proverbs 24:17, Proverbs 25:21, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19, Exodus 22:21 and Exodus 23:9 to mention just a few.

Jesus again made this clear in choosing a Samaritan in the parable, Samaritans being traditional mutual enemies of Jews.

So it is unreasonable to characterise the Old Testament as “a manual for the bloodthirsty”.

God did not give humanity “the answers in the back of the book” all at once, as they would not have been ready for them. He revealed his plan slowly over time, thus there is no real dichotomy between Old and New Testaments, despite Mr Cosgrove’s claim.

The real problem is not that world governments and societies live by Old Testament precepts, but that they live with a post-Christian mentality that has abandoned God altogether and the only rule in modern warfare is “to win” at any cost.

If you win, you don’t have to worry about “rules”.

Mr Cosgrove is right in saying that the world’s main powers have long exploited local conflicts as a proxy means of attacking one another.

As long as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are also the five top global arms manufacturers and distributors, it hardly makes sense to talk of rules or peace.

Nick Folley



Male bias in Catholic Church overlooks teachings

The Catholic Church teaches that whenever a priest says Mass he becomes the person of Jesus and that the logic of this implies that because Jesus was a man therefore women cannot then ever be ordained as priests.

However it is to be wondered if this Church teaching has anything at all to do with the men who have long been in charge of the Catholic Church having a nearly absolutely unchallenged biased in favour of their own sex whenever it comes to deciding the rules?

This unfair bias towards their own sex that is contained, I believe, in the mindset of the male rulers of the Catholic Church means that it cannot be too much of a surprise that they have chosen to completely overlook the moving gospel passage of Matthew 24 which contains a clear picture of great motherly care and love as described by Jesus himself in a statement: “How often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks under her [outstretched] wings?”

Sean O’Brien



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