Fears for local capital projects as Government announces review

By Leonie McKiernan

By Leonie McKiernan

THE future of the planned primary care hospital in Ballinamore, the extension to St Patrick’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Shannon and the Carrick-on-Shannon Bypass, have been called into question following the announcement earlier this week that the Government intends to review all capital projects.

On Monday night all Ministers agreed to come up with savings across all Departments by September. Any projects deemed to be ‘luxuries’ will be scrapped and state agencies will either be cut or amalgamated to save funds. As part of the cutbacks administrative and back-office functions will have to be rationalised and shared between state agencies.

The Minister of Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin said that all capital projects, including hospitals, schools and roads, will be re-examined as part of the spending review.

Most agree that the proposed extension to Carrick-on-Shannon’s St Patrick’s Hospital is unlikely to proceed, and with funding due to run out on the current phase of the Carrick Bypass by the end of the year there is a suspicion that this will also be shelved like the N16 realignment was last year.

Independent Cllr Enda Stenson said he believed that the bypass will “more than likely” fall victim to further cuts.

“While I can’t say definitively that the Carrick Bypass will not go ahead, I cannot see the funding being there for any further progress in the short term,” he admitted.

“If it is shelved then we could find ourselves facing a similar situation to what has happened in north Leitrim where a sterilised corridor has remained for a very long period of time. We don’t want a tract of land left devoid of any possibility of development forever and a day,” he said.

“If it is a case that the bypass does not go ahead then funding will have to be provided to carry out regularisation of traffic at the bridge and at the junction of the Leitrim Road and the Main Street.