“Utterly farcical and totally unacceptable” is how Independent TD Mattie McGrath described the news that work on the Burncourt/Fethard Water Treatment Scheme is set to receive a further significant setback. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was confirmed to him that the one of the 5 companies who tendered for the works had objected to the company who won the tender.
“This means that it is extremely doubtful that the much anticipated start to the works will now go ahead as planned,” he said.
“At the beginning of this month, both Minister Tom Hayes and Minister Phil Hogan engaged in a round of self-congratulatory back slapping in relation to how the Burncourt/Fethard works would now certainly go ahead. I said at the time that I was sick and tired of welcoming announcements while nothing seems to happen after them especially since the tendering process had apparently been completed.
“Now we are back in this appalling situation where it looks like the works will not proceed at all given the position that one of the contractors has taken. I understand completely the position that the objecting company is taking, it is their legal right, but we were given explicit assurances that this aspect of the process had been finalised and it just needed the final green light from the Department of the Environment.”
Deputy McGrath said he was promised in 2011 that a comprehensive range of new water services infrastructure had been approved for South Tipperary County Council.
“I was also explicitly told that he total value of contracts under way and those proposed for commencement in South Tipperary during the period of the programme was just over €41 million. During that same debate the Government acknowledged that work on the Burncourt and Fethard scheme should commence construction and be completed as quickly as possible.”
McGrath said he was given similar assurances as late as last week in the Dail when he debated the matter again.
“It is astonishing therefore that from that day to this we have zero effective progress and indeed with this news it means that we are going backward every day.”
While complimenting the hard work done by the Sanitation Department in South Tipperary and some members of the Department of the Environment who have worked hard to see this project commence, Deputy McGrath said it was ‘nothing short of a shambles to be back in this position again’.
“It is a staggering 20 years that we have been talking, negotiating and debating about this issue and I am deeply frustrated to witness this debacle descend even further into the chaos it is in today. More delays are simply going to be intolerable not only for those of us involved in trying to resolve the problem but far more importantly for the people of the region who deserve far better than the shabby treatment they have received to date,” concluded Deputy McGrath.