By Dan Walsh
A major inquiry is likely into the delay in completing works at Gorey Town Park, value for money and the escalating cost to the taxpayer and following a verbal attack on a public representative by the contractor the issue has been thrown into the public domain with renewed vigour.
Cllr Joe Sullivan has made a formal complaint for an official explanation into an unpleasant and unprovoked incident that occurred in Gorey Town Park during a viewing on site in the presence of fellow public representatives, Council officials and the approved contractor for the site, on a recent date.
The group walked the park and council officials gave an updated progress report, a photograph was taken for the local press, and Cllr Pip Breen, Cathaoirleach of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council addressed all present and as he finished his address the contractor requested and was permitted to address the gathering.
Cllr Sullivan said; ‘Mr Contractor’, then proceeded to lambast me in relation to reports in the local press around questions I as a public representative had asked around the progress of the park going so far as to threaten legal action.”
“Surely as a public representative I am entitled to represent the people who elected me without public humiliation from people who hold county council contracts,” said Cllr Sullivan, who added; “I have huge concerns about contractors who can reprimand elected representatives who dare to question their work or timelines!”
Work on Gorey Town Park is long over the completion date, in the region of €1 million over budget and has been debated at numerous meetings of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council where the members have expressed disappointment over delays, although, it must be acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic has played a role in delaying completion.
Cllr Sullivan is pursuing the matter with vigour and is calling for public availability of all contracts awarded to the current contractor at Gorey Town Park since June 1st 2014 and an analysis on how the money was spent and an investigation into value for money for the taxpayer.
The matter was raised at last Tuesday’s meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District, however, Cathaoirleach Cllr Pip Breen was reluctant to allow Cllr Sullivan address the matter in any great detail. Cllr Breen said; “I have to stop you. This happened on a restricted site and if this can go on a legal route, as we are not in camera, I think this has to be referred back to a different forum than this.”
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux asked that it be placed on the record that “I was very embarrassed and upset as a councillor of how the meeting (in the Park) ended up that day. I felt I was ambushed as a public representative and in all my years in the public service I have never experienced a contractor speak like that to officials or a design team in that manner. I just found it very frustrating and very upsetting and unless I get a guarantee that that kind of thing won’t happen in future I will not be attending any more site visits.”