Tipperary councillors in war of words over Borrisokane roadworks

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Tipperary councillors in war of words over Borrisokane roadworks

Borrisokane: public consultation and observations delayed scheme

The people of Borrisokane have been told that while they may be frustrated with delays to repairing their main street, their objections to the scheme had pushed its timeline out.

There was angry demands at the May meeting of Nenagh MDC that answers be given as to why the scheme will not now start until 2018 when it was expected to be completed this year.

“While people were right to make observations, it does add to the timeline,” district manager Marcus O'Connor told councillors.

However, he said that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) had given the council the go-ahead with a second Part 8 and that was expected to happen in the next two or three weeks.

A Part 8 allows the public to make comments and observations on any major scheme being undertaken by a local authority.

“We have to get agreement or we are in trouble,” said Mr O'Connor. “We understand people are getting frustrated but we can't do anything until we get agreement.”

The new Part 8 will include extra work on the main street as well culverts, and the N52 / N62 junction for about 800 metres.

Councillors were told there were so many observations, including legal threats, to the original design that the scheme had to be more or less redrawn. The changes included parking, visibility and where the pedestrian crossing would be located.

“We had a serious amount of engagement with the people out there,” said Mr O'Connor. “Why would we draw a second Part 8 on ourselves? It wasn't avoidable. People have to connect the Part 8 and the scheme going ahead.”

Mr O'Connor said he was not saying people were not entitled to make observations, but they had to be told “straight out what happened”.

He said that when the scheme was ready to go, the money was there.

Councillor annoyance was led by Cllr Ger Darcy who said Mr O'Connor's response would go down like a “lead balloon”.

He called on TII to “step up to the plate”.

“People were entitled to make observations. You have no idea of the frustration of the people and the effect it is having on businesses,” he said. “We need to drive on.”

Cllr Seamus Morris said it was “embarrassing” to drive through Borrisokane, adding he thought the council was “doing the right thing” by moving funding from Knockalton to Borrisokane. However, he was corrected by Cllr Hughie McGrath who said the council had not moved funding but had prioritised Borrisokane ahead of Knockalton.

Cllr Morris also said that people in Borrisokane had not realised that their observations would hold the scheme up to the extent that they had.

“I am mortified by what is happening in Borrisokane. We made commitments to the town,” he said.

Cllr Joe Hannigan called for TII to be invited to Nenagh and told to “get the show on the road”.

He claimed people in Borrisokane were “not going to hold the show up”, and the council couldn't “kick the can down the road”.

Cllr McGrath said his fear was that Borrisokane would be pushed down the line if TII had to face an emergency such as a bad winter next year.

Cllr Michael O'Meara struck a conciliatory note, saying they should “work as positively as we can if it is not going ahead until 2018”.

He decribed the scheme as the most important project for the town and for Lower Ormond, but Borrisokane had been “held back” because of the delays.

However, he warned that while people were entitled to make their observations, if the scheme was going to be delayed again, they “may as well throw their hat at it”.

Meanwhile, Cllr Hannigan asked why the streetscape plan was not done at the same time as the waste water plan, saying “lessons should be learned from this. I don't want a battle royale.”