*Broadford. 

A CLARE TD has said predicted no shovels will be in the ground for wastewater systems in Broadford and Cooraclare before the General Election.

Broadford and Cooraclare were finally included in the €50 million rural wastewater collection and treatment scheme with a long-awaited announcement made by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien (FF) in December.

Despite Minister O’Brien making this announcement in December, Clare County Council only received official notification from the Department Housing, Local Government and Heritage of the successful applications for Broadford and Cooraclare under Measure A8 of the Rural Water Programme on February 7th.

In this correspondence, the Department requested additional programming, technical and project governance information from Clare County Council regarding the schemes.
The Council is currently preparing this information which must be returned to the Department by May 10th. Upon receipt of this information the Department have indicated that they will arrange a dedicated meeting to work through the steps required to successfully deliver these projects.

Senior officials in the Council have said 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”.

Both villages are waiting over four decades to have a sewerage scheme. They were both included in the new pilot, the details of which were first announced in April 2022, a further twenty months followed before successful applicants were confirmed.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND) said he was “very concerned with the timelines becoming apparent on this. The Minister made an announcement on this on December 7th with a lot of fanfare and it followed many false dawns yet it took his Department a full two months to write to Clare County Council to tell them what they had already announced to the media”.

Deputy McNamara felt it was “bizarre” that the Department have requested the Council to be requesting project governance information “given it is the local authority doing the project and that they were shovel ready projects, they were ready for the works to commence, there is no firm timeline on when the Department will report on the information they receive from the local authority”.

Scariff native McNamara said of the delays, “It is more about getting politicians through the election season locally and nationally than delivering the schemes. I see no firm commitment to deliver anything on this, by dragging it out the two months to write to Council and to give them three months to write back, it will be enough to get some candidates back from the local elections. Inevitably there will be a meeting in autumn some time but nothing will have commenced so people will get off the hook for the General Elections. I fear that at the end of the next General Election there will be no shovels in the ground and Broadford and Cooraclare will be no closer to having a wastewater scheme”.

Deputy McNamara confirmed he has yet to decide if he is running for the European elections himself. “I have had discussions with colleagues in Leinster House and with my supporters in Co Clare but I’m going to have to decide pretty soon”.

When asked if he has set himself a deadline to make such a decision, Deputy McNamara replied, “We’re approaching a time for rubber to hit the road”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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