Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (318)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

318. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the Office of Public Works will finish the viewing platform and repair the storm damage to trees and trails in Mooghaun Park, Newmarket on Fergus, County Clare; when it will be re-opened to the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23086/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

During the recent storms over 100 trees were felled at Mooghaun, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare, rendering the site dangerous to the public. The majority of the site is however now open following remedial work by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The OPW has temporarily fenced off a narrow pathway from its works compound to the viewing platform site so that works there can continue unimpeded and in order to ensure proper Health & Safety management of the construction site. The public can freely access the rest of the site along the forestry laneway and the pathway just north of the works compound. This pathway has been cleared of the fallen trees resulted in its closure. Off the pathways, tree surgery is still being carried out in localised and temporarily taped areas to remove further debris. Due to the archaeological nature of the site these cannot be removed using heavy machinery and the resulting work is very labour intensive. Public passage will not be impeded.

Separately from the storm damage, work has been progressing on the reconstruction of the viewing platform at the site. This project has been undertaken with the support local public representation and other interested parties who have been working for some time to have the hilltop viewing platform restored and have been involved with the OPW in the development of the works proposals there.

Construction of the cairn, which will form the basis for the new viewing platform is now up to the top platform level. The steps, metal handrail and guardings, and the limestone cladding remain to be completed. The metal elements are complex and are being fabricated offsite by contractors. The replacement interpretive panels are in production also and will be installed shortly. The creation of selected vistas to allow people to view the surrounding countryside have also been formed and are complete.

Having resolved the result of the storms, the estimate for completion of the viewing platform is now early August 2014. The precise date will depend in particular on the metal elements provided by external contractors being provided on schedule.