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Breathnach says Ardee bypass has not yet been funded

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Declan Breathnach, pictured in Ardee.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

Louth TD Declan Breathnach says he has received confirmation today that main funding for the Ardee bypass has not yet been allocated, despite two local councillors stating that the Ardee bypass is going ahead with funding available.

In a statement released to ThisIsArdee.ie on Thursday, local Independent councillors Kevin Callan and Jim Tenanty said they had “received confirmation from Minister for Transport Shane Ross that the Ardee Bypass is to proceed and be funded following their efforts to secure investment, which is now being made available.”

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The Ardee bypass is currently under a Mid-Term capital expenditure review. It was not listed as a project to be funded under the 2016-2021 Capital Investment Plan but can be funded after the TII undertake their mid-term review. Callan and Tenanty say that Ross has indicated to them the Ardee bypass will be funded in the latest tranche of capital spending to be announced in September.

The headline in the statement issued to us read, “Callan & Tenanty secure Ardee Bypass from Transport Minister Shane Ross”. ThisIsArdee.ie contacted Minister Ross’ office regarding the matter on Thursday, but they they were unable to provide confirmation.

ThisIsArdee.ie spoke to an official from the Department of Transport on Thursday who told us “no funding” had yet been allocated to starting work on the bypass and that the project remained at a “shovel ready” stage. Louth County Council have also confirmed they are as of yet unaware of any major funding allocation for the Ardee bypass.

Councillor Callan confirmed to us on Friday afternoon that he and Cllr Tenanty are “fully satisfied” that work is set to start on Ardee bypass, with multi-million euro capital funding on the way.

In a statement released this afternoon, Fianna Fail TD Declan Breathnach says that beyond €250,000 allocated to finalise contracts, no further money is available at this present time.

“Only 10 days ago I received a letter from TII in response to a representation I made seeking funding for the Ardee By-Pass,” he said. “In that letter dated 18th July it stated that the Government’s Capital Investment Plan (CIP) provides the financial and strategic framework for TII’s activities during the period from 2016 to 2021. It stated in the letter that “the Ardee Bypass was not included amongst those projects which were identified for development during the period of the plan”.

“Following reports in local media outlets where Councillors Kevin Callan and Jim Tenanty confirmed that Minister Ross had announced funding for the Ardee By-Pass I sought clarification from TII and from the Minister’s office. I have learned that an amount of €250,000 has been allocated to appoint consultants to finalise contract documents. This is the only funding that has been announced and I have received confirmation of this from both TII and the Department today,” Breathnach continued.

The TII confirmed earlier in the year that there were providing an allocation of funding to Louth County Council this year to enable the appointment of consultants for the finalisation of contract documents. Breathnach says that is the only funds that have been released relating to Ardee bypass. Louth County Council say they are “progressing the procurement of consultants.”

“While I welcome this funding which is a clear indication that the development will go ahead at some stage in the future, the main funding for the development of the bypass has not yet been allocated,” the TD said.

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