€4M Project Approved in Four Minutes

Eoghan Dalton Reports

The Deputy Mayor of Waterford City & County has slammed Councillors for approving a roadworks programme worth €4 million after just four minutes of debate.
The Metropolitan Council passed the funding last week by a nine-to-one vote. Deputy Mayor Cllr John Cummins (FG) was the lone vote against.
A number of members had left the chamber by the time the issue had arose on the agenda, as the meeting having already run over the original allotted time. Among these were Cllr Cummins’ party colleagues, John Carey and Lola O’Sullivan.
Councillors had discussed the programme in a 25-minute long workshop before beginning the meeting. However, Cllr Cummins said that more time should have been given to the expenditure in the Council chamber.

Deputy Mayor John Cummins

Deputy Mayor John Cummins

Cllr Cummins said that he had not seen the programme until arriving for the workshop prior to the sitting.
“I believe the manner in which the Metropolitan roadworks programme was rammed through was unacceptable. I want to stress that the reason I voted against is not because I didn’t want to see €4 million worth of expenditure on roads – I want to see even more – it was because the information I was requesting wasn’t available to the meeting. We weren’t given ample time to make changes. There was no discussion, it was a fait accompli, and that is totally unacceptable when dealing with that sum of money,” he said.
Cllr Cummins suggested the decision be deferred until the March meeting – however this was not accepted.
Speaking to The Munster Express, Cllr Eamon Quinlan (FF) rejected the comments from Cllrs Cummins. He said: “Council engineers received allocation for funds two weeks ago. The councillors who have an issue with this should fix the root of the problem, so instead of going for a soft target in our Council staff they should be looking at their party colleagues who release the funding. Our engineers did Trojan work coming back to us so quickly.”

Cllr Quinlan also said that time was a factor. By deferring the vote until next month, he said, it leaves a smaller window for work to be carried out on the Metropolitan District’s roads due to the weather. He continued, saying that “certain councillors have had their head in the clouds” when it came to the roadworks programme.
“Any councillor who wanted to view a draft of the plan could make contact with the executive and view a draft plan. All councillors at the meeting recognised the problem staff were faced with, and we would prefer more time for these decisions but it’s worth focusing on where this problem came from,” Cllr Quinlan said.
In the programme, local roads receive €2,783,405 funding while the total amount allocated for regional roads is €1,337,711. This represents (approximately) a 15 per cent increase on last year’s roadworks funding.

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