Company carrying out work is now in examinership but vows to complete job
Denis Moriarty The Kerries Ltd was granted a road opening licence by Cork County Council in August 2016 to undertake work on the 110kv underground electrical grid connection to facilitate electrical power between Glenlara substation and Ballynahulla.
The work was being done to facilitate wind turbines. However, as outlined in a letter by county council engineer Jim Molloy, dated February 2, 2018 at the Kanturk-Mallow Municipal District meeting, he stated that the roads have endured prolonged disturbance over the past 16 months due to protracted and unfinished works in connection with the interconnections between the sub stations.
'It is now understood that Moriarty's encountered difficulites in obtaining sign off from Eirgrid for elements of the ducting works,' stated Mr Molloy.
'Although aspects of the works were in dispute between the parties, certain measures have now apparently been identified and agreed to be carried out in order to finish out the works. Some remedial measures have already been undertaken before Christmas,' wrote Mr Molloy, Senior Executive Engineer, Roads Operations.
Meanwhile, in the past two weeks, an examiner has been appointed to Moriarty's. Mr Molloy stated that a managment team remain in place during the process and the company will trade with the agreement of the examiner, particularly in elements of the business that are liable to assist with the company's viability and survival.
He also stated that Cork County Council has had 'ongoing liaison and meetings' with Mr Moriarty regarding the lack of progress in completing the works.
Following, the appointment of the examiner, council roads engineers, together with a senior management member from the Road Opening Licence Office, met with management and representatives of Moriartys and their employers, Brookfield Renewables Ireland.
'The latter have been retained by Greencoat Capital, the owners of Knockacummer Windfarm, to manage and complete the interconnection between the substations. The Council re-iterated its dissatisfaction with the delay in finishing the works and the lack of maintenance on trenches and unfinished excavations, contrary to the terms of the Road Opening Licence.
'The council, in addition, drew their attention to the disquiet of residents and road users who are enduring the brunt and consequences of the hold-ups and inactivity on the works,' stated Mr Molloy.
He said the companies 'expressed their regret for the delays and disturbances to the communities, and advised that they were committed to completing the project. Brookfield stated that it was their intent that the works will be progressed and completed by Moriarty's as soon as possible.
'They indicated that they would be back on site to maintain temporary reinstatement this week. They said, subject to Eirgrid personnel being available to supervise, they were focussed on recommencing the remedial works within two weeks which, they estimated, will take six weeks to complete, after which permanent reinstatement would follow. 'A significant element of the remedial works will be in Ballydesmond village.
'Additionally, and separately, they intend to undertake permanent reinstatement works on the L5039 Curraduff, Newmarket as soon as weather conditions permit.' Mr Molloy also outlined that it should be noted that the Roads Department of CCC has, for a number of years, recognised the necessity to upgrade the road surfaces and footpaths in Ballydesmond village.
'The work would have commenced a few years ago but was deferred pending the then imminent upgrading by Irish Water of the water supply and pipe network in the village which involves excavations in the road surface and footpaths to lay new pipes and service connections to customers. As Members will be aware, the water scheme project has not yet commenced,' wrote Mr Molloy.
A contractor has been appointed by Irish Water, which will be undertaken by the Healy Rae's and site investigation works are due to commence 'in the very near future'.
'The Council's Roads Office is hopeful that the water supply works in Ballydesmond village will be completed during 2018. Further clarification has been sought from Irish Water,' stated Mr Molloy.
Furthermore, he stated in the last paragraph of the two page letter, that after the completion of the sub-station interconnector works and the water supply infrastructure works within the village, the Council's Road Office proposes to commence the road and footpath improvement works with funding from the Restoration Improvement Grant from the Department of Transport.
It has also already been agreed by council members at the January 2018 meeting, that the funds towards village enhancement works will be directed to Ballydesmond in 2019.
With this in mind, the Council's Road Design Office in conjunction with the Country Architect's Office will shortly be developing proposals for improved streetscape and public realm proposals that can be constructed in conjunction with the road and footpath improvement works.
While these proposals may need Part 8 approval or planning consent, it is 'expected that there will be local consultation' with the community representatives during the coming months.