A SKIBBEREN councillor has criticised Cork County Council’s plans to upgrade the town’s Bring (waste recycling) Site, using direct labour.
Not even news that work had already started on the site at Marsh Road in Skibbereen could induce Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) to say he was pleased with the decision.
The councillor has been complaining for two years about the lack of action regarding the proposed €250,000 upgrade of the facility.
As part of the upgrade, the ‘new’ facility will be able to take domestic refuse because, at present, there is nowhere in Skibbereen where a homeowner, or a visitor, can legally dispose of domestic waste unless they travel to Derryconnell outside Ballydehob, or the Civic Amenity Site in Clonakilty.
Cllr Carroll said he had given up asking: ‘Will it ever take place?’ And his tone was scathing when he said he had heard that the plans to do some of the public realm works in Skibbereen, as well as upgrading the Town Hall, are also to be by ‘direct labour.’
The councillor said he wanted to know where this direct labour was coming from because the existing local authority employees already have enough work to do.
‘Who are these local crews?’ asked Cllr Carroll, ‘Are they going to come from Santy?’
But the divisional manager, Clodagh Henehan, rejected Cllr Carroll’s assertion that Skibbereen was being left in the ha’penny place.
She said: ‘The area engineers have evaluated it and said it is within their capacity.’
However, she did make the point that there are elements of these projects that will be outsourced and completed by a contractor.
In relation to the Bring Site, she said: ‘We did look at contracting the whole job out, but the value of the tender was very high.’
Ultimately, she said the tenders that were received were ‘non-compliant and could not be approved’ so to progress the work more swiftly, the Council decided to do the work through direct labour. But the councillor didn’t let the subject rest. He said: ‘I am living in Skibbereen and I don’t know who these people are.’
He pointed out that the former Town Council members had set aside funding from development charges for the upgrading of the Town Hall.
And added: ‘For four years we have been promising people.’
The divisional manager repeated her comments that some of the work at the Town Hall, some of the work on the town’s public realm – namely pavement works – and some of the works at the Bring Site, could be done by direct labour and that they would be ‘carried out very soon.’