Independent councillor Kevin Callan and Fine Gael representative Dolores Minogue have clashed on the issue of Ardee bypass, with Callan accusing Minogue of asking a “bizarre” question in relation to the Ardee bypass. Minogue has responded by accusing Callan of peddling ‘fake news’.
The allocation of funding to proceed with work on the Ardee N52 Bypass was raised at the monthly Louth County Council meeting on Monday, where councillors learned that the local authority have yet to receive official word from Transport Infrastructure Ireland in relation to the project proceeding.
That is despite the Minister for Transport Shane Ross announcing last week that construction on the the €20 million bypass is to get underway in 2018. Council chief executive Joan Martin told the meeting that projects were being announced before the papers were filed to the council, citing the Ardee bypass among the examples.
That prompted Minogue to query whether that could have an effect on the project itself, asking whether the TII’s failure to notify Louth County Council as of yet could jeopardise progress of construction. That comment led Callan to hit out at Minogue’s comment, caling it “bizarre.
In a statement released to ThisIsArdee.ie, Callan said “We have actually delivered the biggest infrastructure project for mid Louth in the history of the State. The question today by Cllr Minogue shows she had no hand or part in Minister Ross’ statement where both myself and Cllr Tenanty were acknowledged in fighting for the project.
“It’s very simple, if Cllr Minogue was in the know along the way, there is no way she would ask such a question at this stage – where she clearly has not even received formal notification as myself and Cllr Tenanty have.”
Speaking to LMFM Radio, he added, “I was very surprised to hear Cllr Minogue ask the question today. I’m quite concerned today that people will get the message today that there is a risk any risk that the bypass isn’t proceeding.”
ThisIsArdee.ie spoke to Fine Gael councillor Minogue on Monday – and she accused Callan of blowing the question “completely out of proportion.”
“Today at the County Council monthly meeting, I thanked the staff of Louth County Council for all their help in securing the Ardee By Pass,” she said. “I raised a quick concern after the CEO had stated she had still not received communication from Transport Infrastructre Ireland to her office on the details of funding released last week.
“I raised my concern on the lack of communication and that I hoped this would not jeopardise the project start time. I was quickly reassured from the CEO that in some cases paperwork on funding announcements can take some time.
“I have requested from the TII through Deputy Fergus O’Dowd’s office that communication is sent to the CEO of Louth County Council so we are all on the same page,” she added.
“This has been blown completely out of proportion from Cllr Kevin Callan and I’m very disappointed he felt the need to go on the radio on such a minor concern but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” she cotninued, referring to Callan speaking to LMFM Radio after the meeting.
“I’ll keep pushing for my constituents and keep working as hard as I can for the people of Ardee and Mid Louth. That is what you call fake news. My concern was that the project would be held up over a technicality as the project doesn’t start until money is in the hand.
“Cllr Callan was not at our (Ardee Municipal District committee) TII meeting earlier in the year. His running mate (Tenanty) and others would not support my motion to meet with the TII. It was through my colleague, the then cathaoirleach Paul Bell, that we secured a meeting that brought Ardee bypass up the pecking order.”