Va­cant ser­vice sta­tion on the M11 ‘an ap­palling waste of money’

Gorey Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - By SARA GA­HAN

THE un­opened ser­vice sta­tion on the M11 out­side Gorey has been branded ‘an ap­palling waste of money’ as de­tails emerged last week to just how much the va­cant site is cost­ing the Ir­ish tax­payer.

The Oireach­tas Trans­port Com­mit­tee in Le­in­ster House was told last week that up­wards of a stag­ger­ing €1m has been spent on the state of the art sta­tion at Bal­lyellen in Gorey.

A le­gal dispute has de­layed the open­ing of the fa­cil­ity, which has been ly­ing idle since work was com­pleted on the site in May 2015.

It is cost­ing €19,000 a month just to main­tain the empty premises and site.

Speak­ing at the Oireach­tas Trans­port Com­mit­tee, Fine Gael TD Fer­gus O’Dowd said it was ‘an ap­palling waste of money’.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Trans­port In­fra­struc­ture Ire­land (TII) Michael Nolan ex­plained to the com­mit­tee that the de­lay in open­ing the fa­cil­ity is a re­sult of a le­gal ac­tion taken by one of the un­suc­cess­ful ten­der­ers for the pro­vi­sion of the ser­vice sta­tion.

‘The ex­pen­di­ture to end of 2017 for pro­tect­ing the Gorey Ser­vice Area fa­cil­i­ties to date is of the order of €600,000, with monthly costs of €19,500 un­til the han­dover to the con­ces­sion­aire,’ he said.

Mr Nolan ex­pects that fol­low­ing the con­tract award the ser­vice sta­tion in Gorey should be ready to open within four months.

Cllr Mal­colm Byrne has called for the TII to be held ac­count­able for the de­lay.

‘For two and a half years we have had a white ele­phant run­ning up bills for the tax­payer of up to €19,000 a month.’

‘TII need to be held to ac­count for this, par­tic­u­larly if it was de­ter­mined that the ten­der process was flawed,’ added Cllr Byrne. ‘Why TII couldn’t have ar­ranged for the sta­tion to be opened and revenues placed in an es­crow ac­count pend­ing res­o­lu­tion of the le­gal is­sues.

Build­ing work was com­pleted on site in May 2015 and Topaz sub­mit­ted the pre­ferred ten­der to run it. In Au­gust that year it was chal­lenged in the courts by the Su­perS­top 2 Con­sor­tium, in­volv­ing Ap­ple­green and Ted­cas­tle Oil Prod­ucts.

The ser­vice sta­tion off the M11 at Bal­lyellin, Gorey.

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