THE future development of Enniscorthy Sports Hub may be hanging in the balance after it emerged that not one of the companies who tendered for the project came in anywhere near the budget allocated for the completion of the work.
Having consistently raised the issue at county level, Fine Gael councillor Kathleen Codd Nolan was shocked to learn that the next phase of the project, which includes the provision of long-awaited facilities such as showers and changing rooms, has effectively now stalled.
Responding to her request for an update, Acting Director of Services Sean Meyler replied:
"The tenders that came in for the project were far higher than expected. They exceeded the allowable budget for the project by some margin. We’ll now have to consider our options.”
The response caught Cllr Codd Nolan off guard. “Did they come in much higher than we had budgeted?” she asked.
"A substantial amount yes,” Mr Meyler replied. “We’ll make a decision in the coming weeks as to where we want to go with the project next.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Barbara Anne Murphy was also shocked by the development.
"I’m very disappointed with that. Is it to do with building inflation or what? I would like to have all of the information available to us before our next district meeting.”
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Codd Nolan said that the update had come as a complete bolt from the blue and that the Enniscorthy councillors had received no prior indications that the project was in jeopardy.
"It was a major shock,” she said. “I was really taken aback by it. We weren’t informed about it at district level at all. I expected to be told that the tenders were in and a contractor was set to be appointed.
"In fairness, this is something that we’ve all brought up regularly at district level. I’m hoping that they’ll come up with some kind of plan to bring things forward. I know that we, as a district council, will be seriously mad if this doesn’t get built. This is a huge concern.”
The matter is expected to be discussed in greater detail at next week’s Enniscorthy District meeting, when elected reps will learn more of the fate of the project and whether additional funding will be sought before re-tendering, or whether the whole thing will be shelved.