‘Stop this madness’ of Shannon-to-Dublin water pipeline – Mattie McGrath

The Minister of State with responsibility for heritage and electoral reform Malcolm Noonan has been asked to “stop this madness” of the development of the proposed Shannon-to-Dublin water pipeline.

In the Dáil last week, independent TD Mattie McGrath called on the Green Party minister of state to “stop this madness which will have an effect on ecology, land masses, farmers and people who want to carry on their business uninterrupted”.

“We do not want to see another children’s hospital saga. In Tipperary, we are not anti-Dublin – but we think this project is daft,” deputy McGrath said.

We are going into this project as we went into the children’s hospital project – blindfolded; hands behind our backs; gagged; and everything else.

“The original cost for the children’s hospital was €400 million and it is now approaching €3 billion. The original cost for this project was €1.3 billion. I can guarantee it will not be done for €2 billion and to do what? Pump water from Tipperary all the way to Dublin.”

McGrath raised concerns over leaky pipes, claiming that there will be “water breaks all over the place”.

“I could walk inside the pipe, which has an enormous diameter. Imagine the pressure and the valves unable to slow down that pressure as they feed into a faulty, weak, disintegrated pipe system in Dublin – with old pipes; lead; and asbestos.

“It will be like someone dropped some kind of a bomb on the city.

“Some Third World countries, such as India, have had major investment in fixing leaks. They are able to do it, but we cannot do it in Ireland.

“I appeal to the minister to stop this madness before it goes ahead. It is a fantasy project by the previous government and fantasies are not good.”

Water source required for housing needs

Deputy Noonan responded, saying that a “significant new water source is needed”.

“Existing water supply sources and infrastructure for the eastern and midlands region do not have the capacity or resilience to meet present or future requirements in a sustainable way,” he said.

“In the greater Dublin area, some 82% of the water supply comes from the River Liffey. Some 40% to 45% of the total volume of the Liffey is abstracted to meet water supply needs, which is unsustainable. The level of dependency on this one source also gives rise to real concerns regarding the security of the water supply for the region.

“A significant new water source is needed. It is strategically important for the future development of the country; we cannot meet our housing needs. As was proven by the hosepipe bans earlier this year, a secure and safe supply of water is vital.”