Concerns have been raised in relation to Irish Water’s use of capital – with the Shannon pipeline, wastewater treatment plants and leaky pipes highlighted in particular by Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill.
The Fianna Fáil TD and chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture posed questions on the utility firm’s to invest over €1.3billion into the Shannon–Dublin water pipeline “while wastewater treatment plants remain unfit for purpose and almost 50% of all water in Dublin is lost through leaks”.
Cahill was speaking on this issue last week in the Dáil, when he raised with An Taoiseach Micheál Martin that there is serious opposition across north Tipperary to the proposed 170km water pipeline.
Deputy Cahill said: “There is huge unease in the north of my county in relation to this pipeline.
“There are landowners along the proposed route that have already suffered from a motorway going through their land. I would seriously question Irish Water’s use of capital in this regard – when an awful lot of our towns and villages need money invested in existing wastewater treatment plants and others lie without a plant at all.
Cahill continued to highlight that:
“Ironically, Ballina on the Shannon needs serious investment in its wastewater treatment plant locally, and the current plant has been a major barrier to the development of the town over many years now.”
While noting that advances “are being made in relation to planning permission for a new plant”, he said:
“However, how can we justify draining the Shannon for use in Dublin, spending vast sums of money, all the while almost half of all water in Dublin is lost through leaks and our waterways are polluted across the country through lack of adequate wastewater treatment facilities?
Speaking after this statement in the Dáil, where Deputy Cahill called on the Taoiseach to have Irish Water investigate its use of capital, Cahill said:
“In late 2019, it was expected that Irish Water would spend over €1.3billion on this unjustified pipeline.
“With the cost of construction and materials increasing, and with the fact that projects like this rarely come in on target, can we really justify spending far in excess of €1.3billion, while this money could greatly improve the network were it spent wisely, for the benefit of all? I think not,” deputy Cahill concluded.