Saturday 23 March 2019

'Further delays on Kanturk primary school completely unacceptable' - Deputy

Duhallow Dail deputy West Michael Moynihan (FF) has hit out at delays to the construction of an amalgamated primary school for Kanturk, which still has not reached the construction stage.

Deputy Moynihan also expressed his fear that the project could be further delayed as a result of Fine Gael's mishandling of the budget for the National Children's Hospital.

"Plans for amalgamating St Colman's Boys National School and the Covent Girls National School were first announced more than six years ago, but not one brick has been laid. While I welcome the fact that enabling works have begun, there are serious questions to be answered as why it has taken so long to get to this point", said Deputy Moynihan.

"Given the debacle with the National Children's Hospital, and Fine Gael's inability to rein in costs or oversee the project properly, I am concerned that the delays to the school building in Kanturk may have been preventable.

"I asked the Education Minister what progress had been made on the project. Minister McHugh was unable to tell me when the enabling works would be completed and signed off. He was also unable to tell me when the tender for the main works would be awarded."

Deputy Moynihan pointed out that the notice on e-tenders was published on October 14, 2018. "The pre-qualification process was due to take six to eight weeks, but it is now almost 20 weeks since that date and no further information is available," he added.

"I am calling on Minister McHugh to give a guarantee that this project will not be affected by the cuts to Departmental budgets arising out of the National Children's Hospital overspend. This project has already been unacceptably delayed - any further issues will not be tolerated.",

Late last year, local Fine Gael reps were adamant that the amalgamation project was, finally, making good progress. "We have a communication from Education Minister Joe McHugh that stays very clearly the project would be going to tender in the first quarter of 2019," said Cllr O'Shea.

Rankled by doubt express by Cllr Bernard moynihan, Cllr O'Shea added: "We all want to see this project go ahead and I am asking you [Moynihan] as chair of this committee to be positive instead of creating uncertainty and negativity within the local community."


Minister McHugh’s reply to Deputy Moynihan’s Parliamentary Question:

‘The Deputy may be aware that the project to which he refers has been devolved for delivery to the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The pre-qualification process for the appointment of tenderers in respect of the project is in the final stages of completion. In the meantime, the OPW is in the process of preparing tender documents to issue to the shortlisted contractors.

It is a little bit too early at this stage to give a definitive timeline for when construction will begin. However, we expect tender documents to issue in the first quarter of 2019.'