IF there was an Olympics for operating in slow motion Irish Water would win the gold medal every time, Councillor Pat McMahon told Tuesday’s meeting of Shannon Municipal District Councillors.
The veteran Fianna Fáil man sought an update on the planned upgrade to the waste water treatment plant in Newmarket, which he said is vital to the delivery of housing in the area.
A written response from the Council’s Senior Executive Engineer stated that there has been little progress for months. “The planning application for the Newmarket on Fergus waste water treatment plant upgrade project was submitted to Clare County Council by Uisce Éireann in February 2023. The response to a further information request is to be submitted to Clare County Council by Uisce Éireann in mid July 2023. Subject to a grant of planning permission and the completion of a tender and contract award process, it is anticipated that construction will commence in 2024 for completion in 2026.”
The response didn’t impress Councillor McMahon very much. “The planning application went in last December and if there was an Olympics for slow motion Irish Water would get the gold medal every time.
“If they were in the private sector they would go out of business and into bankruptcy. There is very little ability to get work done in a reasonable amount of time.”
He also sought an update on the development of a Newmarket on Fergus masterplan, which he also said is crucial for growth in the area.
A written response from the Council executive said that a Town Centre First Plan had been completed in Sixmilebridge and it is likely that one for Newmarket will follow. “It is the intention that each Municipal District will have the opportunity to put forward a town to be considered for support in terms of Town Team development, Town Centre Healtchecks and/or the development of a Town Centre First Plan. Towns will be selected dependent on the scope of the funding and the criteria that the Department provides for selection.
“Newmarket on Fergus is strategically located given its close proximity to Shannon, Ennis, Limerick and Galway via the M18 and taking into account its growth potential, the compilation of a Town Centre First Plan/Masterplan would support this growth into the future. It is intended that Newmarket on Fergus will therefore be prioritised as a key town within the Shannon MC as the next recommended location for master planning within its functional area.”
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.