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