A former Mayor of Ennis has hit out over the latest setback in protecting flood-prone areas of the town.
It’s after it emerged that the 8.6 million euro Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme, a key flood alleviation project for part of Ennis, has been further delayed.
Works were due to begin this summer, but that’s no longer the case, as Clare FM’s James Mulhall reports:
Speaking on Clare FM in February, Minister of State for the OPW and Flood Relief Kevin Boxer Moran promised no further delays on the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme.
Works were due to get underway this summer, but despite reassurances, it’ll now be Spring 2019 before the already-delayed project gets underway.
It’s after a decision was taken to re-tender the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme, after contractual issues were identified by the firm who had initially been appointed to construct it.
Clare Fine Gael Junior Minister Pat Breen explains how this latest delay has come about:
Minister Breen’s party colleague and former Ennis Mayor Paul Murphy has hit out over the latest setback.
The scheme represents the final phase of flood defense works throughout the town – over 120 homes and businesses in Clonroadmore, Ballybeg and Clareabbey, along with St Flannan’s College in Ennis are to be protected.
As recently as April, the local authority had committed to works beginning within weeks but now, the contract is to be advertised again and it’s hoped a new contractor will be appointed by the end of the year.
Fine Gael Cllr Murphy is deeply concerned about this latest news.
But until this contractual issue is sorted out, it looks set to be early next year before they break ground on the project with an estimated completion date of October 2020.
CLARE COUNTY COUNCIL STATEMENT:
Between receiving the tenders and award of the contract, the Government introduced Sectoral Employment Orders for the industry. The lowest tenderer said the impact of same meant they were unable to carry out the works for his submitted price and needed an uplift.
Clare County Council advised that it could not renegotiate the price and asked the tenderer to either stand over their tender or officially withdraw which would allow the Council to engage with the next lowest tenderer and so on. The tenderer was unable to agree to either proposal and suggested the other tenderers would have the same issue following the introduction of the SEOs.
On foot of advice received from the Dept of Public Expenditure, the Office of Government Procurement and the OPW, Clare County Council’s only avenue was to cancel and retender.
Given the value of the works, Clare County Council is governed by the OJEU procurement timelines but in so far as it can, the Local Authority will fast track the process. To this end, Clare County Council is amending the contracts documents at present. Clare County Council will advertise before the end of July, have a preferred bidder in September and award a contract before the end of 2018. Because of the proximity to the river, works are seasonal and weather dependent. It is proposed that works will start in Spring 2019 with an expected completion date by October 2020.
The OPW has confirmed that funding is secure and in the meantime, Clare County Council is progressing the Land Acquisition required and will also look if certain works such as service diversions can be done as advance works to ensure timely completion as soon as possible.