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Fingal County Council

(File pic:
(File pic:

Local authority: Fingal County Council

Issue: Project costs over-runs

An internal audit carried out by Fingal County Council found that a project involving the refurbishment of a halting site ended up costing a total of €1.9m, close to double the initial project budget of €1.1m.

The project at Moyne Park, Baldoyle, was also highlighted in the 2015 Local Government Audit Service's council audit, which described the variation between the project’s tender price and the construction cost as "most unsatisfactory".

And, in a letter sent to the council, the Local Government Auditor noted that the appointment of the consulting engineers on the project was carried out in breach of the council’s procurement policy.

The internal audit, which was completed in 2017, said that, in 2013, it was agreed to refurbish the 10-bay halting site, which had opened in 1996.

It said that, from 2011 to 2013, relations between the occupants and the Travellers Section of the council were "fraught with difficulties and communications were limited. This prolonged period of non-engagement with the occupants contributed to the severe deterioration of the site".

However, the audit noted that, in 2013, communications were reopened and, following discussions, it was agreed to refurbish the site.

Various issues emerged that "seriously impacted" the ability of the contractor to complete the works within the agreed project price.

The audit stated that, before the commencement of the project, parts of the site had been subject to "uncontrolled dumping" and that, when works commenced on the site, significant quantities of contaminated material were uncovered.

Meanwhile, the audit also concluded: "In the case of a brownfield site, such as Moyne Park, greater consideration should have been given to the particular risk associated with the use and occupancy of this site over an extended period and the impact this had on the existing site infrastructure. More extensive site surveys and an environmental risk assessment could have contributed to a more adequate project scope definition."

It also concluded that "insufficient management controls were identified on occasion during the course of this audit".

The council told RTÉ Investigates: "One of the most significant factors that contributed to the cost overrun related to poor ground conditions encountered on site, which only came to light at the construction stage, and which could not have been adequately determined or reasonably measured prior to issuing the tender for construction."

It also said that it had implemented "additional protocols on controls and resources, as well as risk management processes for all future projects".

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