MONEY for piers and harbours in Clare ‘announced’ last week by the Minister Simon Coveney and welcomed by Clare Oireachtas members is not additional funding, it has emerged.
Minister Coveney released a statement on Friday outlining a ‘€23 million package for piers and harbours countrywide’, which included more than €230,000 for projects in Clare. Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway, Labour TD Michael McNamara and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen, all welcomed the €232,650 allocated to Clare County Council under the Storm Damage Programme. However, it now appears this money forms part of the €16.8 million already allocated by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to Clare County Council at the end of last month.
North Clare representatives are now calling for clarity from central government in relation to the breakdown of funding allocated for the county.
Councillor Michael Kelly described the announcement as “spin” while Councillor Bill Slattery said it was “very misleading”.
Councillor Kelly said it was “not clear that the funding is part of the previously announced funding” and asked “for a clear statement of funding and the breakdown of where the money should be spent.”
Councillor Richard Nagle criticised the Oireachtas members saying, “it was misleading and when Minister Hayes was here in Clare, we were assured that there would be joined-up thinking. Now, we are two months later and no one knows what projects can proceed and what cannot.”
“This level of confusion is unacceptable,” he added.
The councillors’ comments were made at an Ennistymon Area Meeting on Monday where clarity was sought as to whether funding will be forthcoming for improved coastal protection works before repairs are made to damaged infrastructure.