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Crisis talks on stalled Bandon flood scheme

April 17th, 2017 10:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

Jim Daly. TD

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BY KIERAN O’MAHONY

BOTH the Office of Public Works (OPW) and contractors Wills Bros met  in a bid to iron out difficulties which have resulted in work on the €11million Bandon Flood Relief Scheme being stalled.

Cork South West TD Jim Daly told The Southern Star  that contractual issues have arisen between Wills Bros and the OPW.

‘I can confirm that they do relate to unforeseen costs associated with the scheme, which I understand are substantial. There are certain elements of the scheme which cannot  progress until the current issue is resolved, hence the reduced presence of workers on site,’ said Deputy Daly.

‘This is an extremely disappointing and unsatisfactory situation to have arisen so early into the construction phase and I will certainly be seeking answers as to how this situation has been allowed to come about, at the appropriate time in the future. But, for the immediate time ahead, we must unfortunately give in to allowing this process of negotiation to proceed and await a, hopefully, successful outcome.’

Gillian Powell of the Bandon Flood Group said the latest developments are very disappointing: ‘I feel very much that the reputation of the OPW, Cork County Council and Wills Bros is at stake, not to mention local politicians. We are hopeful that a solution can be found and that this maybe is just a blip in the road.’ 

Bandon-based county councillor Gillian Coughlan said the timing of the cessation of works couldn’t have come at a worse time.

‘The dredging of the river has to be done between May and October which is only a couple of weeks away. I urge both parties to consider the impact of any cessation of the project on the people of Bandon,’ she said. 

Cllr Coughlan feels that the contractors, Wills Bros Ltd, have done a huge amount of work around the town since they started on the flood relief scheme. ‘I must commend them for their work and it seems neat and tidy and, from my layman’s perspective, it seems good, but at this stage, taking the gravel out of the Bandon River is my main concern. 

‘People are very worried and concerned with this latest development and I would fear that if this contract were to collapse, would we have to go to tender again for a new contractor?’

Cork South West TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony said she is very disappointed with the latest developments.

‘We were promised this and now the people of Bandon are being held to ransom once again. I’m calling on Minister Canney to sort this as quickly as possible. This could have knock-on effects for other projects in the town and the people of Bandon deserve better,’ she said.

A spokesperson for the OPW would make no further comment on the situation, but said that ‘both the OPW and Wills Bros are committed to the implementation of the Bandon Flood Relief Scheme that was confirmed by the Minister. Planning and preparation for in-river works to commence in May are ongoing.’ 

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