One of West Cork’s prime tourist towns is facing “a big stink” this summer.
It emerged yesterday that cash-strapped Cork County Council may not be able to stump up its share of a planned €5m sewerage plant upgrade in Clonakilty.
Councillors were yesterday unable to get a cast-iron guarantee from county engineer Noel O’Keeffe that the local authority will sanction its €500,000 contribution.
The Department of Environment has committed to providing €3m for the upgrade of the treatment plant and the town council has committed €1.5m.
Mr O’Keeffe said he recognised smells had “historically been a problem” because the plant needed upgrading. He “hoped” the council would sanction money for work to start in a few months.
After being questioned by Cllr Donal O’Rourke (FF), Mr O’Keeffe admitted “there were no guarantees” funding would be allocated.
“So there’s still an element of doubt. If we have another summer with smells in the height of the tourist season all hell will break loose,” Mr O’Rourke said, urging fellow councillors to lobby County Hall bosses to ensure the money is forthcoming, and soon.
“This project must go ahead to avert a disaster. Life won’t be worth living here if the smells are as bad as last summer because people will be so angry.”
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) and Cllr Noel O’Donovan (FG) echoed his views.
Mr O’Keeffe explained that in times of limited resources every single project has to go before a full management team in County Hall for approval.
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