Doubts surface over Clondra project

Fresh question marks have emerged over a €300,000 project along a stretch of Co Longford’s Royal Canal.

Fresh question marks have emerged over a €300,000 project along a stretch of Co Longford’s Royal Canal.

A cycle and walk-way between Longford and Clondra was scheduled to start in the Spring, with all works completed by the end of 2013.

Billed as a key cornerstone in upholding Co Longford’s future tourism potential, Longford County Council, Waterways Ireland, the County Tourism Committee have spent the past number of months working towards securing grant aid through the LEADER programme.

At last week’s meeting of Longford County Council, Cllr Paul Connell raised concerns about the project meeting its proposed October deadline.

He said the decision to set up a seperate independent body to head up the operation at such a late stage could jeopardise its overall prospects.

“I thought that it was being done in-house by the local authority,” he said, looking slightly puzzled.

“ The concern I have is that if there is going to be a limited company set up to deal with this. It’s not that I’m objecting to it, but this company is only being set up now. We could have done it through the local authority in-house funding under the LCRL scheme. Why wasn’t it done that way? If there is any hiccup at all it (project) won’t be done because the timeframe will have passed.” In response, Director of Services Frank Sheridan, said the decision to set up a dedicated body was necessary in order to secure all required funding.

“We (council) met with LEADER and looked at funding options. It would have been very difficult to have received the level of funding to have seen the project done. It was agreed that the best way forward was to establish a limited company under the Tourism Board,” he said.

The council executive added that the company was likely to be established this week, a move which he said would unlikely lead to any delays.