By Dan Walsh
The signing off documents and the commencement of construction on the long awaited Enniscorthy Flood Relief Scheme has been further frustrated and delayed and members expressed ‘disappointment’ with the current timeline at the January meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council held by Microsoft Teams.
Larry McHale, Executive Engineer, gave a comprehensive up-date on the Enniscorthy Flood Relief, but the members were uncomfortable with aspects of the report. The technical details were addressed in full and Mr McHale indicated that everything required of Wexford County Council was completed and the project is ready to commence when the green light is given.
Cllr Jackser Owens suggested writing to the Minister expressing the Council’s disappointment that the project has not been signed off. “I am very disappointed and the business people of Enniscorthy are disappointed.”
Cllr Cathal Byrne agreed with the sentiments expressed by Cllr Owens. He asked if the OPW and the Council produce the clarifications to the Department are there scope for the Department to come back again with further queries and clarifications or is this the last possible time they can raise queries?
“A year ago, we were told we might have approval by January, now we find that it is being pushed back to June, or maybe later, and I like everybody else would be concerned if it went into the autumn or maybe 2022?” stated Cllr Byrne.
Mr McHale explained that the supplementary documentation and clarifications are expected to be completed by June. There is a risk that the Department may seek further clarifications.
Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan acknowledged that so much work had already gone into the initial process and sent to the Department, but she wondered why there is a secondary process. She needed to know what the difference was. She also asked that if it is all done and dusted by June when will the construction process begin?
Mr McHale explained that the Department are following a very stringent standard and are future proofing the project against legislation which is likely to become law in the future and this approach is to protect their finance and interest in the project. “It is not just being applied to Enniscorthy, but to all OPW projects and flood schemes,” added Mr McHale.
Cllr Codd-Nolan said it is draft legislation. She wondered if it is Irish legislation. Mr McHale indicated that it is EU legislation that is being adopted into Irish legislation.
“It is so frustrating to hear all this because it will be the end of the year or early next year before work will start. It could be the end of 2022. I really can’t understand it, to be honest with you,” concluded Cllr Codd-Nolan.