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Councillors seek timescale for Cluain Airne development

OBTAINING information from Shannon Town Council about the controversial Cluain Airne housing development is akin to “pulling hen’s teeth”, a local county councillor has claimed.
Councillor Gerry Flynn made the claim at a town council meeting last week, where he also alleged what has happening in relation to the residential development is “disgraceful”. He was speaking during a discussion about the Glaisse na Rinne/Cluain Airne affordable housing development.
“I said at the last meeting, what is a priority for the council, is it a day, a week or a number of years? I make no apology for demanding answers. Residents living from 21 to 26 were given the impression improved parking would be provided but now this is not happening. What has happened is unbelievable and I hope this will never be visited upon us again,” he said.
At a meeting in June, councillors requested an inquiry into the development, which had prompted issues in 2007 before a brick was even laid. Over four years later, the 22 dwellings have not been completed, despite persistent complaints about the delay from councillors.
In a letter to the town council before its September meeting, county manager, Tom Coughlan claimed there is no need for an inquiry into the development as facts about three specific issues relating to the development would be provided at this meeting by the town manager, Bernadette Kinsella.
Councillor Flynn’s comments came after Councillor Patricia McCarthy requested an update be provided by the council on the progress of the schedule of works for Glaisse na Rinne and that this should be an agenda item until the development is completed.
Councillor McCarthy stressed councillors need a regular progress report in relation to what is happening in order to keep people informed. She also requested a timescale for the different stages of work.
Her concern was shared by Councillor Sean McLoughlin, who sought information on the price of the houses and wondered what qualifying criteria would be applied in terms of income thresholds.
Councillor Michael Fleming asked how many people have applied for housing in this area, what are the qualifying criteria and when the council expects the development to be completed.
Councillor Tony McMahon asked for clarification about the finishing date following “reports on the ground” that the 16-week time scale would not be met.
Councillor Cathy McCafferty agreed the development should be left on the council agenda until it is fully resolved.
Acting senior executive engineer, Siobhán McNulty stated the contractor, Atlantic Developments, has confirmed they are working to the contract programme for Glaisse na Rinne. The car-parking interface works are nearing completion and they are hoping to complete this work within the coming weeks.
“Enabling works for the roundabout have commenced, with the main work to start in the coming weeks. The design team have received and reviewed the method statement for this work. The landscaping interface work has commenced and is ongoing.
“Works to the houses are ongoing and works on the internal finishes are ongoing. External works to include road kerbs/footpaths and walls are ongoing. In general terms, the works are progressing as per the contract programme,” she said.
Town manager, Bernadette Kinsella pledged the council would try and provide as much detail as possible on deadlines and timelines for councillors.
Commenting on the contract between the council and the contractor, Ms Kinsella noted the contractor has the option of seeking an extension of time, which he hasn’t availed of to date.
As soon as prices become available, she said this information would be provided to councillors and hoped the current strong level of interest would remain.
A meeting between Cluain Airne residents and local town councillors took place on August 5 last. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the interface works between the Cluain Airne and Glaise na Rinne site, with particular emphasis on parking and retention of mature trees.
Clare County Council advised the attendance it would request the contractor to prioritise work on the green area, which had started and was ongoing.
Acting senior executive engineer, Ms McNulty stated a number of parking arrangements were discussed on site with a view to minimising the impact on the mature trees.
It was confirmed after the meeting that the through road in front of numbers 133 to 138 is acceptable to the residents of Cluain Airne. It was discussed and accepted on site that the parking layout as submitted for the Part Eight is to be the extent of the parking provided for the Cluain Airne residents.
“Where feasible, it was agreed mature trees would be preserved. To accommodate this, minor amendments to the parking area between blocks 138 to 133 and 100 to 95 were agreed. A concerned resident raised the issue of dumping of rubbish in the shrubbery opposite Number 95. The area office agreed to undertake minor works in this area to curb the dumping of rubbish,” Ms McNulty said.

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