Cllr Adam Teskey and Cllr Emmett O'Brien at the water fountain in Adare
A POLITICAL row has erupted over plans to repair and reinstate a water fountain which was “gifted” to the people of Adare by the Dunraven Estate.
At a meeting of the Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District, Cllr Emmett O’Brien sought a report about the project which will also include an upgrade to the public plaza around the fountain.
“I received a fair amount of calls from my constituents about this and the lack of consultation about what’s going to be done with it. I’m hearing rumours and innuendo that the entire fountain is going to be taken down and raised about a metre and rebuilt,” he said.
Cllr Adam Teskey said he too had been contacted and he questioned why councillors had not been briefed.
In response, Cllr Bridie Collins, who lives and works in Adare, confirmed the project has been planned for some time.
She said it is a collaboration between Adare Tidy Towns and the local authority and that ‘accelerated funding’ of around €40,000 had been allocated under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
“It wasn’t that anybody was trying to hide it,” she insisted pointing out that people could not meet due to the lockdown earlier this year,
While senior executive engineer Aidan Finn told the meeting he is aware of the project, he said he is not directly involved and could not provide specific information.
Cllr Collins said the base of the stone fountain, which is a protected structure, is leaking and that it has not worked properly for some time. “Over the years various repairs have been carried out on the fountain and the wrong materials have been used and there was a lot of concrete used and it wasn’t the right mix,” she said, adding there are also health and safety concerns.
“The original cross fell off in a storm in the 1970s and it was replaced with something that isn’t quite 100%. The cross at the top is quite loose and there is a danger it will fall in another storm,” she said.
During heated exchanges, Cllr Collins said a full survey of the monument was carried out earlier this year and that the report was only completed in recent weeks.
She said while there was some discussion about raising the fountain, this will not happen.
“We are not raising the monument – let me make that 100% clear. The monument is not going to be raised. It has to be deconstructed and reconstructed because it is in such a state of disrepair.”
While commending the work being done by Cllr Collins, her colleagues reiterated their view that they should have been briefed,
Cllr Stephen Keary said he was “not surprised” by the lack of consultation and he suggested that rules “can be bent” in Adare but not in other areas.
Cllr O’Brien said councillors are entitled to be briefed when €80,000 of public money will be spent.
Mr Finn agreed to prepare a “comprehensive report” for the next meeting.