Sunday 26 May 2019

Moynihan warns bundling of projects could lead to further delays for Coachford scheme

Deputy Aindrias Moynihan (FF)
Deputy Aindrias Moynihan (FF)

Bill Browne

The delay in upgrading the sewage and waster water treatment system in Coachford could be set back even further by the bundling policy in place for infrastructural projects.

That's according to Cork North West TD Aindrias Moynihan (FF), who has said the potential development of the village is "being stymied" by its lack of sewage capacity.

He was commenting after raising the issue in the Dáil with the Minister for  Local Government, John Paul Phelan.

The Minister said that Irish Water, in partnership with Cork County Council, was currently prioritising a waste water and sewage scheme for Coachford as part of a wider project that will also involve the upgrading of facilities in Dripsey, Innishannon and Ballyvourney/Ballymakeera.

"The upgrade will be delivered under a single contract as part of what Irish Water is calling the Cork mid-west sewage schemes," said Minister Phelan.

He said it was his understanding that the procurement process for the project was underway and that Irish Water hoped to award the construction contract in the first half of 2019.

While Deputy Moynihan welcomed the progress update, he said there had been many "false dawns and promises" made regarding the Coachford scheme in the past, but no progress had been made for a decade.

"Furthermore, I refer to the fact that the Coachford scheme is bundled with other schemes.

While I understand this is being done to gain efficiencies through economies of scale, will delays to other projects put back schemes such as the Coachford one?"

Deputy Moynihan cited the situation with Macroom Garda Station as an example, pointing out that although a site has been available for the past two years, ongoing delays with the Sligo site has set back the Macroom project.

"Look how long that saga has dragged on. When projects are bundled together the pace is set by the slowest one. The Coachford project is much further ahead than others and I am worried that its delivery will be delayed even more," Deputy Moynihan told The Corkman.

He said further delays would have a devastating impact on Coachford, pointing out that planning permissions are being refused, social housing projects slowed down and the opening of private housing projects stalled due to inadequate infrastructure.

"The need for new sewage and water treatment facilities in Coachford has long been clear for economic, social and environmental reasons. It was delayed due to the recession and since Irish Water took over the delivery of these services in 2014 there has been constant promises and consistent delays," said Deputy Moynihan.

He said the frustration felt by locals in Coachford was "real and palpable".

"The village has such potential. It has a really active community that wants to get this project going, but the national government is failing them," said Deputy Moynihan.

"The government need to think about how best to deliver schemes of this nature and not to just automatically bundle projects together for ease.

It's highly unfair on local communities," he concluded.