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Contractor withdraws from Ennis flood relief scheme

AN €8.6 million flood relief scheme that will protect more than 120 homes, along with businesses and St Flannan’s College, in Ennis is being delayed as a result of a “contractural issue”. Clare County Council has confirmed that the preferred contractor for the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme has formally withdrawn their tender and works are now not expected to begin until next year at the earliest. It had been anticipated that the project would get underway this summer. The scheme now has to be re-tendered “at the earliest juncture” and “works on the ground will most likely not commence until the spring of 2019,” the local authority stated. Councillor Johnny Flynn expressed disappointment at the delay in “this crucial piece of infrastructure”. The scheme represents the final phase of flood defence works in the town and includes the townlands of Clonroadmore, Ballybeg and Clareabbey, which suffered badly during the floods of 2009. Minister of State Pat Breen assured that …

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Kilfenora Makes Memories

IN 2067, the residents of Kilfenora will be afforded a glimpse into life in their parish half a century earlier. That is down to the work of Kilfenora Timeline, who created a time capsule, representative of local families and the community, which was placed inside a specially hand-carved stone seat among the 12th-century high crosses in the village last Friday. Each household in the community was invited to contribute a record of family and parish life in 2017. Items contributed included a family tree on an A4 page, up to three photographs and an account of each family. They also had the opportunity to submit a memory stick, inclusive of video or photographic content. The Office of Public Works (OPW) commissioned the stone seat, which was placed among the high crosses within the national monument in the local cemetery. “Everything went absolutely to plan,” said James Kelly, one of the founder members of the Kilfenora Timeline. All items were vacuum-packed …

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‘Shilly-shallying’ on Ennis flood relief

THE Office of Public Works has been accused of “shilly-shallying”, when it comes to the long-awaited Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme. A recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District was informed that a timescale for the works is not currently available. This sparked criticism from members of the council, with acting director of service Brian McCarthy telling councillors that he “understands the frustration.” Councillor Paul Murphy initially raised the matter, requesting an update on the tendering and likely timescale of works on the scheme. He asked, “What is the latest delay and is it possible to separate the St Flannan’s and Ballybeg projects from each other in order to achieve progress?” Eugene O’Shea, acting senior engineer, replied, “The current status in relation to the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme is that a tender recommendation has been received from the consultants for this scheme and sent to the OPW for their approval. “As the St Flannan’s and Ballybeg projects are both …

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EDEN judges to visit Scattery Island

SCATTERY Island will be visited by a panel of expert adjudicators next week, who will carry out an onsite assessment to determine the winner of this year’s EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) competition. The island is one of three Irish finalists for the prestigious award, along with the Ceide Coast, Mayo and The Norman Way Wexford. The theme of the 2017 EU-wide competition is Tangible Cultural Tourism. Tangible cultural assets can include features such as traditional historical or archaeological monuments/sites, industrial sites, museums, theatres, galleries, contemporary architectural sites and urban districts. Ian Lynch of Scattery Island Heritage and Development Group said, “We are delighted to be selected for this year’s EDEN Award shortlist. While it may be a surprise to many, locally we have long since recognised the unique and magical experience of Scattery Island. The Scattery Island Heritage and Development Group have worked hard over the last number of years with our partners in the OPW, Clare County Council …

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Annoyance as Ennis flood relief works still some time off

FRUSTRATION is being voiced this week as work on the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme seems unlikely to begin for some months yet. Hopes that the work on the €4.7 million project would get underway in the middle of the year have already long been dashed. In a statement, Clare County Council stated that the matter is currently with the Office of Public Works (OPW). “Clare County Council has forwarded the tender report to the OPW, who are the funding authority for the project. The tender award process will proceed once approval is received from the OPW.” It is understood that work may not start on the project for another 10 weeks. Former Sinn Féin local and general election candidate Noeleen Moran contacted The Clare Champion this week after receiving a number of documents relating to the scheme under Freedom of Information. These indicate that it had actually been hoped work on the project would get underway as far back …

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OPW funding for flood prevention

The Office of Public Works is to provide capital funding for flood protection measures for Springfield Clonlara and has also approved the preferred measures subject to a number of conditions. “The OPW has confirmed that the proposed CFRAM measure for Springfield, Clonlara may now be progressed by Clare County Council. The funding of the project costs will not fall under the Minor Works heading, but the work will be funded instead as a capital project under the OPW capital works programme. This is very welcome news,” said Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market & Data Protection Pat Breen. “The favoured solution will now require more detailed project-level assessment and design before it can be confirmed as technically, economically and environmentally viable and suitable for progression through planning. In this regard, approval is being given in the first instance to bring the project forward with the undertaking of this necessary project-level assessment. “Once the project is confirmed to …

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Keeping tides at bay in Shannon

THE idea of Shannon Airport being washed away by floods sounds like an Irish take on the disaster movie genre but, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW), if the cards fell in an unfortunate manner this year, more than €103 million worth of damage could be done. While the scenario is unlikely, the OPW has found that, in the event of a once-in-a-thousand-year flood, 21 buildings at the airport would be at risk, with overall potential damages of €103,237,626. It also says in the event of a mid-range event, damage could be in the region of €174m, rising to €289m in a high-end future scenario. In a statement this week, Shannon Airport said it is not overly worried about flooding but it is taking steps to protect what is a hugely important piece of regional infrastructure. “In its 70 years of operation, Shannon Airport has never closed for flood-related issues. We are liasing with the OPW and Clare …

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Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme to go to Tender

Minister For Employment and Small Business Pat Breen said he is satisfied that progress is now being made on the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme as the project has gone to tender. “It is my understanding that the tender documents will be going out to contractors for pricing on Monday (yesterday). The tender period will be eight weeks, and pending no further complications, work is to commence on the ground in July,” said Minister Breen. “This third phase of the Ennis Flood Relief Scheme had been delayed due to technical difficulties, but I am pleased that the project is finally moving on,” added Minister Breen. “I understand the frustration of residence effected by flooding in this area of Ennis as they await the project to begin, a frustration that must be multiplied in recent days during the inclement weather, and I sincerely hope this is the beginning of the end of flooding issues for these people. “I have been working …

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