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30 Nov 2021

BIG READ: Heated row over €8,000 spend on failed proposal for Perry's Site in Carlow

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Perry's Cash and Carry on Kennedy Street, Carlow

A heated row erupted at this month's meeting of Carlow Municipal District over an €8,000 spend on a failed proposal for the Perry's Site in Carlow. 

Cllr John Cassin hit out at Carlow County Council's approach to the Perry's Site - which was bought for €800,000 - after a funding application to create a "Town Centre Enterprise Hub" at the premises was unsuccessful. 

The local authority submitted an application to the Regional Enterprise Development Fund in an effort to make use of the building.

The funding proposal was in line with Government policy but "failed on the basis of the competitive process".

A review meeting in respect of the REDF project for the Perry's Site in Carlow Town was conducted recently with the chief executive of Carlow County Council, Director of Services and Enterprise Ireland about the proposal submitted for funding.

At this month's MD meeting Cllr Cassin asked again about the proposal's failure.

Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office, Kieran Comerford, said the outcome from the meeting was that they were happy with the application but they want the Council to move it on further in technical planning and apply for funding again later in the year. 

Cllr Cassin asked how much it cost to put the plan together and Mr Comerford said that the bill came to €8,000.

"We spent €8,000 to be told no, it's not good enough, and we think that's a good return," the councillor said. 

Mr Comerford hit back and told him that "spending €8,000 on a €1.8m investment is a good return". 

However, Cllr Cassin interrupted and said: "But you didn't get anything."

Mr Comerford then said: "Would you rather we submitted nothing?"

Cllr Cassin said he took issue with Mr Comerford's suggestion and that ultimately the proposal had not received any funding. 

Chair of the meeting, Cllr Ken Murnane, said the money that was spent was to bring the plan forward.

Mr Comerford added: "We have to invest in projects to bring them forward to the next level. We can use the data gathered again. It's the process we have to go through."

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