The Regional Group of TDs, including Galway East TD, Seán Canney, has called on the government to provide water investment in terms of wastewater infrastructure in towns and villages.

The TDs claim that since the establishment of Irish Water, there has been an “abandonment of plans” for wastewater infrastructure development in the regions.

They add that there are continual environmental breaches and issues with the infrastructure in main centres.

Deputy Canney said: “The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] 2019 report is highly critical of Irish Water’s delivery of new treatment plants, noting that towns and villages continue to discharge raw sewage into nearby waters and highlighted the key issues within the water infrastructure.

“This government now wants to get rid of rural one-off homes, but we cannot build in the towns and villages due to the lack of wastewater services.

“Towns and villages need investment to provide the infrastructure necessary to attract families to live, work and raise their families.”

Water investment and cost structure

The independent deputies have stressed that clean water and wastewater systems are “essential components” to grow communities.

Canney added: “But Irish Water has abandoned local authorities’ plans for wastewater services in these towns and villages due to lack of funding from central government.

“Regional Group members call on the government to put in place a transparent cost structure for new, and develop extensions to existing, water and wastewater treatment infrastructure as a matter of urgency.”

Poor water infrastructure blocks housing

The Galway East TD continued: “Towns and villages such as Craughwell, Athenry, Corofin and Abbeyknockmoy in Co. Galway are left to stagnate due to the absence of wastewater facilities.

“These are designated growth centres, but in a time of a housing crisis we cannot build homes in these centres. This situation is replicated across the regions.”

The regional grouping of independent TDs has said that the government needs to implement a development lead infrastructure scheme to fast track infrastructural development in towns and villages.

In terms of remote working, the independent deputies said that housing in the regions will not be available to meet such demand, unless the water infrastructure is upgraded.

“We need to protect our environment and our communities. We must support people living and working remotely to develop growth centres,” added deputy Canney.

“We cannot tolerate any more reviews and strategy reports. We need action by providing a multi-annual budget to Irish Water to deal with the complete absence of wastewater services in our towns and villages,” he concluded.