Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has criticised Minister Simon Coveney for botching the applications process for the Fishery Harbour & Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2015. A series of delays in the applications process will put extra pressure on local authorities to have the works carried out by the end of the year.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “Despite holding the Budget last October, Minister Coveney only announced the details of the Fishery Harbour & Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme in March leaving less than a month for local authorities to apply to the scheme. This is a completely ridiculous situation whereby councils had to rush through applications and are still waiting for a decision on them at the end of May.
“Another of the major difficulties with the scheme is the fact that the projects can only go to tender after they have been approved. As no approvals have issued this means that it will be autumn time before works commence. This means work, which should be carried out in the summer, when the weather is more suitable and the days are longer, will be pushed out until later in the year. The problem is further exacerbated by a clause which states that unless the work is completed by the end of the year the local authority will lose the money which had been granted for the project.
“Minister Coveney’s handling of this scheme has been ludicrous and further highlights his inability to understand the practicalities of running these programmes, the volume of work involved in the applications process and the timelines involved. This scheme should have been announced shortly after the Budget so that local authorities would have had a full year to tender for these projects, to appoint contractors and to allow the work to be carried out in a timely manner, rather than having to rush to ensure that the work is carried out before the year-end deadline.
“The Minister needs to re-assess the way in which these schemes are managed so that applicants are given an acceptable timeframe to apply for and have these essential works carried out”.