Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has called for the veil of secrecy surrounding the Dargle flood protection work to be lifted. The councillor who has been fighting alongside local residents for flood protection works to be carried out on the Dargle after the Little Bray area was destroyed by Hurricane Charlie in 1986, he made the call following the news that the main contractor on the flood protection scheme SIAC has gone into examinership.
Councillor Brady said "Over the last couple of months the work on the €28 million Dargle flood relief project has effectively ground to a standstill. A number of key staff on the project have either been let go or redeployed to other SIAC projects, Sub contractors on the project have not been paid for work that they have done. Not surprising this week SIAC have been granted court protection and gone into examinership.”
Cllr Brady continued “I have serious concerns now for the future of the project. During court proceeding Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan agreed to grant protection to SCL and the eight other companies on the basis of reports from independent accountants expressing the opinion the companies have a reasonable prospect of survival as a going concern provided several conditions are met, including securing creditor and court approval of survival proposals. The fact that the company is only given a reasonable prospect of survival is not very assuring.”
Cllr Brady went onto say “I have tried to raise the serious concerns that the community of Little Bray and I have with the council, unfortunately those concerns have hit a brick wall. The Flood Protection project has been covered by a veil of secrecy and any time questions are asked the response is that the council and SIAC are involved in a design resolution process with the Contractor. This relates to technical design details and that it is a confidential process that has been entered into with a view to seeking a resolution. The veil of secrecy around this project needs to be lifted and assurances need to be given to the residents of Little Bray that their homes are safe from flooding.”
Cllr Brady concluded “The OPW has stated they remain committed to completing the Bray scheme as quickly as possible and to ensuring that it will provide the same standard of protection as provided by other OPW flood relief schemes. What the residents and I need from Bray Town Council as the Contracting Authority are answers and assurances that the project will be completed to the specifications contained in the EIS and that it’s delivered on time. Minister Brian Hayes also needs to directly get involved to ensure that this doesn’t drag on. One must remember that a flood of the magnitude of Hurricane Charlie has a reoccurrence rate of 20 years, it is now 27 years after that event and we need it fully completed.”