I welcome the Minister to the House. In October 2004 I welcomed the Water Services Investment Programme 2004-2006 involving a total investment of €5 billion, with the allocation to Limerick being €142 million. On that occasion the Minister painted a very positive picture in so far as the sewerage schemes were concerned for Adare and Patrickswell. He confirmed at that time that the necessary finance was available under the said programme.
I now ask for an update on the contract documents, the public-private partnership or PPP applicability and the issue of procurement. The scheme has been examined by Limerick Council and a report prepared and submitted to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in July 2005. This recommended that both civil and mechanical, and electrical elements of the project may be procured through traditional procurement routes rather than a design build operate route, a DBO. That would allow arrangements for a public-private partnership. While a response is awaited from the Department in respect of the PPP report, it is anticipated that the draft documents could be ready for submission to the Department early in 2006.
The construction aspect will depend on the Department's approval for allocation of funding, and the level of contribution from Limerick County Council. The development plans in Adare and Patrickswell are greatly dependent on the proposed infrastructure. Many planning applications for hotels and housing development have been granted by Limerick County Council, subject to the availability of the necessary water and sewerage infrastructure. Indeed, discussions have taken place with Limerick County Council about the possibility of providing a private hospital in that location.
The provision of this infrastructure is dependent on the Minister. I ask him to use his good offices, together with Limerick County Council, to secure the provision of the infrastructure at the earliest possible time. I am not seeking that it should be left to private operators to dictate what development takes place on the lands and roads in each area but that the proper development, as set out in the development plans and with Limerick County Council working under a PPP if necessary, take place in the interest of the communities and the proper development of the area. Perhaps the Minister will examine this.