Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív TD says Government constraints put on funding to repair storm damaged piers and harbours could risk the completion of certain projects.
€7m was approved for 111 repair projects, but none of the money will be handed over to the relevant local authorities until all of the work has been carried out. The Department of Agriculture and the Marine has also stipulated that the repairs must be completed and the money drawn down by the end of this year.
Deputy Ó Cuív said he is extremely concerned that the €7m, which was earmarked for harbour repair work, is being put in jeopardy because of the extremely tight timescales laid down by the Department. The money for the repair work was only approved at the end of March, yet the Minister expects all work to be completed and inspected by the end of this month.
“Each local authority is expected to fund the repair process itself, and can only claim it back once the project has been inspected by an engineer from the Department. The refusal of Minister Simon Coveney to implement a pre-payment scheme for the works, similar to that operated by the OPW, has put many local authorities under financial pressure in order to meet the strict deadlines.
“I am calling on the Minister to ensure that any works which are not completed by the end of this year will be funded in 2015,” he said.