09 Aug 2022

Council again refuses FOI request on 'road to nowhere' controversy after 'internal appeal'

Local authority said they could not provide the information due to 'ongoing legal proceedings'

Carlow Carlow Carlow

An aerial view of the 'road to nowhere' just outside Carlow Town (CREDIT: Carlow Weather)

Carlow County Council is still refusing a Freedom of Information request on the "road to nowhere" controversy after internal appeal was conducted at the request of Carlow Live. 

A Freedom of Information request - seeking details on the amount of interest paid by Carlow County Council between 2007 and to date in 2018 on a loan taken out to pay a High Court settlement to Nessleside Builders over the case the company took against the Council over the construction of the Eastern Relief Road - was previously refused. 

Details were also sought on how much was actually borrowed to pay Nessleside Builders and how much is left to be repaid and how much of the actual loan (that isn't interest) has been paid off between 2007 and to date in 2018.

Carlow County Council denied the request "as the records sought continue to be the subject of legal proceedings".  

After the FOI was refused an internal appeal was sought at the request of Carlow Live - an appeal is available to anyone who has had an FOI request refused. 

The Council conducted an internal review and after a few days said an internal review of the request had been carried out.

They added: "Your request is hereby refused as the records sought are exempt in accordance with Section 29 and Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014, as they are the subject of legal proceedings.

"You may appeal this decision to the Office of the Information Commissioners by "applying for a review" on payment of a fee of €50 (generally) within a period of six months."

The matter will now come before the Information Commissioner. 

In 2007, RTÉ reported that the Commerical Court had been told that Carlow County Council gave orders for a building company to construct a relief road around part of the town, even though it did not own all of the land.

Only after the developer, Nessleside Builders, sued the Council was the matter settled but the road remains unfinished and has been dubbed locally as the "road to nowhere".

However at this month's meeting of Carlow County Council it was revealed that a "significant portion" of the construction costs of the Carlow Eastern Relief Road were funded by the Council from the issue of development contribution credits in the amount of €8.5m.

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