Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Éamon Ó Cuív has expressed concerns about the grant scheme established to upgrade waste water systems. Deputy Ó Cuív says no local authority has submitted an application to the Department of the Environment to recoup funds spent on septic tanks.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “I have been concerned for some time about the workings of this scheme. There are too many restrictions which make it extremely difficult for households to qualify. People are forced to pay for the upgrade work upfront, before they can claim back any rebate. Even then, there is a €4,000 limit on the grant. Rural residents are further penalised as they are means tested for a grant, which their urban counterparts aren’t subjected to. This is further evidence that rural Ireland is at a disadvantage and is not getting its fair share of state funding for the provision of essential services.

“Billions of euro has been spent across the country on providing and upgrading public waste water systems at no cost to urban householders. However, rural homeowners have had to pay for their own septic tanks, and now it appears that they have not received any state assistance to do so, despite promises of grants.

“In response to a parliamentary question, Minister Hogan has confirmed that no applications of recoupment for grants have been submitted to his department in respect of domestic waste water treatment systems.

“This would indicate that rural householders have borne the cost of upgrading their septic tanks, and not the Department, despite the fact that urban dwellers have had to pay nothing. I’m calling on Minister Hogan to introduce a more equitable scheme to allow for the upgrading of rural waste water systems for the half a million households in rural areas”.