Clare County Council Senior Engineer, Tom Tiernan, says the council, “utterly refutes and condemns” any implication that it has or will not fully consider submissions made in relation to the €120 million Northern Distributor Road project.
“It is not in Clare County Council’s interests to pursue the identification of any route corridor other than the most appropriate one. While it would not be possible to identify a route that would satisfy all individual requirements, we wish to get to a point where potential adverse impact is minimised and where mitigation measures to emerge in the detailed design at a later stage will result in an acceptable outcome from the points of view of all stakeholders.
“Now that all submissions are in, they are being assessed methodically and every point articulated in them will be considered in detail before any conclusions are finalised regarding acceptance of a Preferred Route Corridor,” he said.
Secretary of the Concerned Northern Distributor Road group, Zinaida Nourreddine recalled during the consultation meeting with Clare County Council and Roughan & O’Donovan on Tuesday, March 27, this year, she and Andrew Fowler had discussions with ROD engineer Michael Fowler.
“When I mentioned to Mr Conroy that I had heard that none of the submissions received by the council and R&O’D so far, had any impact on the plans, Mr Conroy said that he was the one who had said that,” she claimed.
“But several times thereafter during our conversation, Mr Conroy kept repeating that each and every submission is taken into account.
“I said that he was obviously not taking any of our objections in at the same level as we were bringing them: for each objection we gave, he had an answer in return. I stated my strong feeling that this was a game where the outcome was already set – regardless of what anybody had to say about it – that the residents were being bulldozed over.
“ I asked him what good any of the submissions were, seeing that everything we had to say, was brushed aside. Mr Conroy again repeated that this was not so and again urged us to write submissions,” she stated.
Mr Tiernan said the original statement attributed to Mr Conroy that “none of the submissions received by CCC and R&O’D so far has any impact on the plans” arose in response to a question raised at a briefing session for elected representatives held on February 6, 2012, as to whether the emerging Preferred Route Corridor was the selected route for the scheme.
“It was explained at that time that submissions were still being received from the public and no decision on the Preferred Route Corridor would be made until after the closing date for receipt of submissions and subsequent analysis of all comments received.
“It was also explained that submissions were being reviewed as they were received and, up to that time, February 6, none of the submissions reviewed had identified a new constraint that required a change to the choice of emerging Preferred Route Corridor that formed the basis of the public consultation exercise.
“The public consultation period was subsequently extended to May 11 and the assessment of around 400 submissions received is currently ongoing. Each of these submissions will inform the selection of a Preferred Route Corridor and the further development of the scheme,” concluded Mr Tiernan.