A city councillor has called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to intervene and save a Cork flood relief scheme believed to be in jeopardy due to spiralling construction costs.
Concerns have been voiced in recent days about the viability of the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme in Glanmire, with construction inflation cited as a reason the scheme might not go ahead.
While contracts had been due to be signed, with work due to commence on the Glashaboy scheme in the coming weeks, it is understood that construction inflation may mean the contractor who had made the preferred bid for the work might not be in a position to carry out the work.
When the scheme went to tender last year, the preferred bid is understood to have been approximately €14m, but with construction inflation currently running at about 25%, such work would likely now cost in the region of €17m. Rules governing public works procurement preclude price negotiation after tender.
Cork City Council, which is the body awarding the contract for the flood relief works, said it could not comment while procurement was still underway, and the Office of Public Works (OPW), which is funding the scheme, told The Echo it could not comment “as there is currently an ongoing procurement process”.
In 2012, a severe flood caused tens of millions of euros worth of damage to properties in Glanmire and Sallybrook, and the Glashaboy scheme had been designed by the OPW to protect homes and businesses in the area.
Under procurement rules, it is understood that if the preferred bidder was no longer in a position to sign the proffered contract, the OPW would then go back to the next lowest tender and work through tenders until a decision could be reached.
One member of Cork City Council has now asked that the Taoiseach get involved and help find funding to bridge any potential shortfall between the preferred bid and the likely current cost of the scheme.
Ger Keohane, who is an independent city councillor living in Glanmire, told The Echo he was calling on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to directly intervene and to help save the scheme.
Mr Keohane said that while he was aware of the rules surrounding procurement, the recent Covid-19 pandemic had proven that rules could be changed if there was a political appetite to change them.
“I’m speaking on behalf of the 82 homes and the 30 businesses that were flooded ten years ago, and if nothing can be done to save this scheme, then there is nothing to prevent those properties from being flooded again,” Cllr Keohane said.
The Taoiseach’s office was contacted for comment.