‘Cost of Shannon-Dublin water pipeline out of kilter with rural funding’

The cost of the Shannon-Dublin water pipeline is out of kilter with rural funding, according to ICSA General Secretary Eddie Punch.

Estimated costs for the proposed project by Irish Water stands at €1.2 billion, compared to the €66m that was recently allocated for a rural plan for all of Ireland, he said.

Punch made the comments at a public meeting on proposed pipeline which was organised by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) in Co. Tipperary recently.

The meeting was the first in a series of meetings set to be organised by the ICSA in the coming weeks.

“The one comment that struck me very forcefully there was our rural plan, for all of Ireland, has been allocated €66m in the first instance versus €1 billion, and perhaps more for this project.

There is something a bit out of kilter about that.

Punch believes these state funds could be used more efficiently and support beneficial projects for rural Ireland.

“Limerick could be developed, there is a lot of talk at the moment about the motorway from Limerick to Cork and whether we can afford it.

“Jobs like this or projects like this scheme would be much more important to me than putting all of the infrastructure, all of the facilities and all of the water into Dublin.

But this is a national choice that has to be made. Which gets prioritised, Dublin or the rest of Ireland?

“As I said €60m plus, peanuts really, for the entire rural development side of things versus over €1 billion for this project. That’s a real standout figure,” he said.

Affecting close to 500 farmers in total, the proposed plans suggest that the pipeline will travel 172km across counties Tipperary, Offaly and Kildare before reaching Dublin.

At the public meeting in Co. Tipperary farmers and public representatives vowed to mount a legal challenge against the proposed pipeline.

Farmers and stakeholders affected by the pipeline were are also encouraged to make submissions to Irish Water as the latest public consultation period is set to come to a close on February 14.