Clare County Council expects to be in a position to award a new contract for the Ennis South flood relief scheme by the end of the year, according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Responding to a question from Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey in the Dáil last week, Minister Donohoe said that the tender competition initiated last year had to be relaunched due to issues surrounding the costs submitted by the preferred tenderer which could not be resolved.

“The tender was subsequently re-advertised, with ten applications received by the closing date on September 28. All of the applicants have passed the quality assessment stage of the process and Clare County Council and its consultants are now engaged in the assessment of the pricing element of the submissions.

“It is hoped that the council will be in a position to award the contract before the end of the year, with construction commencing next spring,” the Minister said.

The scheme is being administered by the council who are the contracting authority with funding from the Office of Public Works. When completed the scheme will provide protection for 74 residential and 10 non-residential properties.

The OPW has previously confirmed to the council that funding would be made available and Minister Donohoe said this position remains unchanged, pending a full budget estimate submission.

The OPW has also authorised Clare County Council to progress land purchase arrangements in relation to the scheme.

The work includes overflow culverts from the streams at St. Flannan’s and Ballybeg to the Clareabbey flood plain, and the upgrade of the existing flood defence embankment between the Quin Road and the Clarecastle tidal barrage, including rehabilitation and construction of sluices.

Deputy Carey, who is a long-time advocate of the scheme, said it was the final main programme of works needed to provide full flood protection for Ennis following on the major works undertaken on the Ennis Upper and Lower Schemes. 

“The scheme which is now back on track is estimated to cost €8.6 million and will bring total investment in flood relief in Ennis to €39 million,” he explained.