*Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien (FF). Photograph: Tom Micks

ANXIETY and frustration is building with the ongoing wait for works to commence in both Broadford and Cooraclare following their inclusion in a national pilot wastewater treatment scheme.

In December the inclusion of both Broadford and Cooraclare in the €50 million rural wastewater collection and treatment scheme was announced by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien (FF).

However it took until February 7th for Clare County Council to receive official notification from O’Brien’s Department that their applications for Broadford and Cooraclare had been successful.

Officials in the Department requested “additional programming, technical and project governance information from Clare County Council regarding the schemes,” senior engineer Cyril Feeney stated. This information was returned to the Department in the past fortnight.

Feeney advised, “Upon receipt of this information, the Department have indicated that they will then arrange a dedicated meeting to work through the steps required to successfully deliver these projects. It is premature at this stage to provide an outline timeframe for the project delivery until further discussions have taken place with the relevant stakeholders which include Uisce Éireann”.

An update had been sought by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) before a meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District. “Funding has come, we’re anxious like anything else,” he admitted. “It is something that Broadford is crying out for years to get a shovel on the ground and get it going”.

Ongoing waits are frustrating, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) acknowledged. “It is disappointing to see that everything takes so long and we go step by step, I do agree with Cllr O’Callaghan, people out there are crying out for houses but unfortunately Clare County Council can’t grant applications because the system isn’t there”.

Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe MD, Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) outlined, “We do want to see development there and this project completed”.

Elected representatives must continue to push for works to be completed, Cllr Pat Burke (FG) maintained. “It is important that we put down these type of motions, in case people think we just talk about roads and potholes, we have replies from Uisce Eireann, Liam O’Connor and Cyril Feeney at today’s meeting”.

“If Joe Cooney got the job in the morning, it would be done in a month’s time,” Cllr Burke added. “I don’t know what made you think Joe Cooney would wait a month,” Cllr O’Brien replied.

According to Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) the ball was in the Council’s court to get the necessary technical information submitted to the Department.

On the amount of back and forth which included the Council waiting two months before getting official notification, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) stated, “it is actually risable, that’s a word I use, we have grant schemes out at the moment from national government looking to give community groups a handful of thousands of euros, here’s political gain being got from announcing it, there’s political gain to be got from announcing the closing date and then there’s the announcement of the award of the scheme, at some point down the road a local community group will get their hand on €3,000 or €4,000 directly from the Minister, hands down to me that is not a functioning political system.

“I get it for €50,000 or €60,000 projects let’s go with the Department but there should be a threshold below which any community group looking for a few thousand euro for small community projects, the whole politics of it needs to disappear”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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