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Councillor Donna Mc Gettigan

Anger about standard of Shannon grass cutting

THERE is local anger about the poor standard of the grass cutting in public areas again this summer, last week’s meeting of Shannon Municipal District heard.

“People are very angry about the way that Shannon looks and they want the contractor to be local,” said Sinn Féin’s Donna McGettigan.

Councillor McGettigan said that while it may not be legally possible to ensure the contract goes to a local company, there still needs to be steps taken to make sure things are done to an acceptable standard.

She put forward a motion that an enforcement structure be implemented, which would include agreed standards and time frames for the contracted works. The motion also proposed that the company and the Council “streamline their communication structures. It also said that the company would preferably have a local contact who could ensure that necessary works get carried out.

In a written reply Senior Executive Engineer Aidan O’Rourke stated, “Grass cutting is subject to an open tendering process each year where any prospective contractor who wishes to compete can submit a tender.

“Tendering is carried out in accordance with the public procurement process. It is not possible to choose a contractor to award to, or to limit tenders by geographical location. An enforcement structure is in place within the existing contract in that the contractor is only paid for cuts completed to a satisfactory standard set out in the contract. There is a constant line of communication between the Shannon Municipal District office and both the crew leader and managing director of the contractors company. This contract was subject to a review and overhaul of contract determination and will be further reviewed prior to its reissue for the 2021 cutting season.”

Independent Gerry Flynn said that there had been an improvement earlier in the year, on the back of some complaints.

However he said what’s really destroying the look of the town are things like poor road edges and overgrown paths. He said that the necessary attention to detail is not there, and as a result the “place doesn’t look great”.

Shannon Tidy Towns spokesperson Dawn Adams said that while there isn’t as much anger about the state of the grasscutting this year, it still leaves a bit to be desired. “There is still need of improvement. The cuts are too few, the length is never short enough so therefore it is not neat and grows back way too quickly.

“I’d love to see trimming and care taken with less corners cut. I think the simple answer is that more grass cutters are obviously needed. Shannon has a lot of green areas. We are lucky in that respect but this should have been taken into consideration from the contractors taken the job or indeed the council accepting the contract.

“It was proven last year that not enough was been done but yet here we are again. The lads cutting are obviously under pressure and in a hurry.”

Also at the Municipal District meeting Councillor Gerry Flynn called for a “plan of action” around dangerous trees in the town, which he said are causing health and safety risks, as they are growing over roads and public access areas.

In his reply to the proposal, Senior Executive Engineer Aidan O’Rourke said it will take place very soon. “A review of tree issues arising will take place in the next fortnight in preparation for works to be carried out once the bird nesting season ends at the end of September. This review will inform a works list which will be carried out within the budget available.”

On the same theme, Councillor Pat O’Gorman asked that the Council remove five trees on Corrib Drive, in front of Shannon Town United’s grounds.

He also requested that it take out two more trees to the rear of the club’s machinery shed, in the interests of safety.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said that if the trees behind the shed fall, not only would they take out the shed, but they would also take up the pathway in the area.

Mr O’Rourke’s report said that the trees in question would be examined as part of the upcoming end of year tree works programme.

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.