Thursday 24 April 2008

Delays to pier caused by ‘drip feeding’ of money

FURTHER delays in carrying out long-awaited pier improvements in Kerry can be expected if the Government continues to drip feed money for such work.

The warning came from county manager Tom Curran who told councillors he could no longer advise them to accept ‘piecemeal’ projects and expose the county council to large cash-flow problems it could not sustain.

In some cases, the council was given money by government departments to start projects, but had no guarantee of receiving funding to finish the jobs.

’Rather than having three or four projects going on at the same time, I believe it is better to finish one before we start another,’ Mr Curran said.

On his recommendation, councillors agreed to transfer €600,000 earmarked for a €2.5 million project at Renard pier this year, to finish the Valentia Island pier extension nearby. The Valentia project is estimated to cost €4.9m.

FF councillor Paul O’Donoghue supported the manager’s recommendation on the understanding that the focus would next year be on doing badly-needed work at Renard pier.

But, Independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae disagreed, saying money should be spent this year in Renard where boats were currently unable to berth as the pier was unsafe.

Mr Curran voiced concern about delays in recovering funding for a number of other projects from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, including €3m for coastal protection works at Inch.

Meanwhile, work has not yet started on the construction of a €8m pier at Cromane, near Killorglin, despite promises prior to the last three general elections that a new pier would be provided there.

After local disagreement in Cromane regarding a site for the pier was resolved, difficulties arose in relation to acquiring land for an access road to the pier site.

An Bord Pleanala has now received two objections to compulsory purchase orders being sought by Kerry County Council for the access road.

Irish Examiner

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