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No Improvements For Borrisokane's Rundown Streets In 2017

Thursday, 25 May 2017

THE long-running saga of Borrisokane's badly rundown streetscape was discussed at length by local councillors last week.

During the meeting of Nenagh Municipal District the councillors were disappointed to hear what Director of Services Marcus O'Connor said to them about this controversial issue.

The Director said that realistically he can't see the roadworks being carried out in 2017 as there is too much paperwork to be gone through.

Mr O'Connor said the Roads department in the County Council sent a report about the problem to the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) and the TII had instructed the Council to go ahead with the second round of the Part 8 planning process. This second round will go on public display in the next couple of weeks. 

Cllr Ger Darcy said the issue has been 'an area of huge concern to us all.' He said there had been quite a few written submissions by members of the public during the first Part 8 planning process, these submissions had been taken on board and were now part of the second round.

'The bad state of the roads is causing damage to the cars,' continued Cllr Darcy. 'The situation is also having an adverse effect on people's businesses and on tourism. The situation is a disgrace. People in Borrisokane are concerned that they are going to be left behind altogether. Whenever I am in the town practically every second person I meet is mentioning this problem, and are asking what are we going to do about it. We must see work on the ground this year. I know there were quite a few submissions during the Part 8 but we can't use that as an excuse. We need to drive it on as quickly as possible.'

Cllr Seamus Morris commented that as a councillor 'I find it embarrassing when I drive through the town. The town is being held back by the appalling state of its roads. The wishes of the townspeople have not been facilitated. We councillors are taking a hammering from people about this.

 'Talk about the TII doesn't help either. The TII strikes some people as being like an anonymous, uncaring, major organisation. 

 'But we shouldn't blame the TII for this, for it not being progressed quickly enough.' 

 Cllr Joe Hannigan remarked that last year's drainage works in the town should have been carried out at the same time as road repairs. 'The locals want to see their beloved town looking a lot better, they want to see it return to what it was, namely a successful business town for the wider area. The locals are being demoralised by this.

'I am led to believe that most of the submissions made under Part 8 have been addressed, which is good.

 'However, everyone is very frustrated. Everyone feels that it shouldn't be taking this long. We are now in the month of May. This needs to happen in 2017. It is nothing short of shocking to be told that we will probably have to wait until next year. I appeal to you Marcus to do what you can to get this project done this year. People's mindset and enthusiasm is being adversely affected by this.'

 He said they should invite a TII employee down to Borrisokane and discuss the problem there. He pointed out that no one in Borrisokane will hold up the project, because everyone is very keen that it go ahead as quickly as possible.

Cllr Hughie McGrath commented that he is not a fan of the TII because it comes across as being governance from the top down rather than the other way round. 'I often think they don't grasp the social impact of situations like this. They just see it as being a road.'

Mr O'Connor pointed out that criticising organisations like the TII tend to rebound on one. 'We have no choice but to work with them to the best of our ability,' he remarked. 'I have absolutely no doubt about the commitment of the TII to this project. We are not doing a second Part 8 for the fun of it. We are doing it because we are legally bound to do so. During the first Part 8 process we had a lot of submissions from people. We also had a number of threatened court injunctions. 

 'People had concerns with parking. There were also concerns about the pedestrian crossing. There were a lot of concerns and we therefore made a lot of changes to the proposal and ended up with a scheme which was considerably different.

'The TII and Tipperary County Council are one hundred per cent committed to Borrisokane. Last year €800,000 was spent on sorting out the town's drainage system. That should be sufficient evidence of our commitment.' He said the proposed road remedial works (which will include undergrounding of cables, footpath upgrades and road surfacing) will cost two million Euros. 

'We need to go through the Part 8 process, then there is the contract process, and it could be November or December before the contracts are drawn up. In the meantime we will do minor patching work on the bad spots of the street.'

 Cllr Darcy commented that the Director's remarks will 'go down like a lead balloon' in the town. '99.999 percent of the locals want to see this project going ahead. We were hoping to get the roads resurfaced in 2014 and here we are three years later and it still hasn't been done. It is a disaster. Every day that goes by the street is getting worse and worse. It is falling apart.'

'This is the most important project for Borrisokane in the lifetime of the town,' said Cllr Michael O'Meara. 'People were fully entitled to make objections and submissions. They will have to live with the resultant scheme for the rest of their days so they want to get it as right as possible. It is not just the townspeople complaining about the rough streets. It's often mentioned by people passing through. The town is most definitely being held back because of this.' He asked everyone to remain positive and to continue working hard.

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