North Tipperary County Council is to write an urgent letter to Minister Brian Hayes asking him to honour a commitment given to Templemore Town Council and the pubic last April, in relation to the proposed Flood Relief Scheme for the town.
Councillors Michael Smith (FF) and Eddie Moran (Independent) tabled a Notice of Motion at the monthly meeting of the council recently with Cllr Smith stating that Minister Hayes had given a very firm commitment to the Town Council and to the people of the area.
“He came with a figure of 6million Euro at the time but I have not seen anything about the scheme being commenced. If you are going to make commitments like that and give assurances to people, it is very important that you follow up on them and see them through. That’s why we are asking about this and trying to understand what the delay is and when will we actually get started on this scheme. We have had torrential rain over the last few weeks and people are living in fear over what could happen to their homes and property,” Cllr Smith said.
An angry Councillor Moran said that Minister Hayes’ lack of action is “ a disgrace and insulting to the people of Templemore”. He added that it is clear that the Fine Gael Minister is ‘trying to pull the wool over our eyes” but said that it will not work.
“We are very determined to follow this up because you cannot go around making commitments like this and then not follow up on them. We won’t let this sit,” Cllr Moran said.
Councillor Pauline Coonan supported the motion and said that it was a great pity that in times of plenty the necessary works had not been carried out. She also added that it was a pity that Deputy Michael Lowry had not included it as part of his deal with the Brian Cowen led Government, but stated that Minister Hayes is doing his best to advance the cause.
Councillor John Hogan described the issue as being a very serious one and said that a number of developments had been put on hold as a result. He said he hoped the plan was not being renaged upon because it was badly needed in Templemore in order th support future developments and expansion of the town.
The matter had been raised by members at the July meeting of the council also and a letter was sent to Minister Hayes in relation to it. The Minister’s office responded and said that an environmental survey commissioned by the OPW in relation to a proposed culvert route through certain areas of the town had indicated that there are some ground water contamination and remediation issues that need to be addressed if the route is selected. OPW is currently considering various options in relation to the approach to be taken regarding this issues and it is hoped to identify and proceed with a course of action shortly.
Minister Hayes’ letter continued, “Upon finalisation of the culvert route, and taking into consideration any issues arising from the public exhibition scheme, OPW will proceed to seek former sheeme confirmation from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. If the scheme is confirmed it is envisaged that the works will be carried out by the OPW’s labour force.”