‘The only way we can fight this pipeline is through the courts’

Farmers and public representatives in Co. Tipperary have vowed to mount a legal challenge against the proposed Shannon-Dublin pipeline.

That was the consensus of a public meeting on ‘The Preferred Scheme for a New Water Supply for the Eastern and Midland Region’ which was organised by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association.

The meeting, which took place in Ballycommon, Nenagh on Thursday February 2, was the first in a series of meetings set to be organised by the ICSA in the coming weeks.

The meeting was attended by a number of farmers and political representatives from the ares who have been left frustrated by the lack of clarity on a whole range of issues concerning the proposed pipeline.

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

Mounting a Legal Challenge

People affected by this pipeline, as well as the different farming and development organisations, must tackle this project as a united front, according to Cllr Michael O’Meara.

“People have been talking about compensation, but no compensation will pay for this pipe going down through your land.

“You can put what ever figure you like on it. There will be a draw on your title deeds for the rest of your life and that is there for eternity,” he said.

Cllr O’Meara believes compensation is out the window and that a legal challenge must be mounted against the proposed project, an idea which was strongly supported by the majority of people in attendance.

There is no need for this water to go to Dublin. If there is no need for this water to go to Dublin the most important thing we can do here tonight is prove it.

“The only way you will prove it, ultimately, is in the courts. Whether we have to go to the High Court, the Supreme Court or the European Court, I believe this is possibly the only way this going to be won,” he said.

The ICSA meeting on the proposed Shannon-Dublin pipeline was attended by Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill and Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy.
The ICSA meeting on the proposed Shannon-Dublin pipeline was attended by Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill and Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy.

Fianna Fail TD, Jackie Cahill, promised those in attendance to use his position to get Irish Water to clarify the concerns of those affected by the proposed project but also supported the concept of a legal challenge.

“We have the mechanisms to lay down the hard questions. Once we’re supplied with information we can put down the questions and put the pressure on to get answers.

If the people of this area want to fight the hard battle to stop it, that’s what we’ll do. But it won’t be easy.

“If this job is going ahead it will be put out to tender and it will be more than likely you will have a foreign company coming in doing it.

“They won’t give a damn, they will want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. They won’t care what way the ground is left behind them or how it is put back,” Cahill said.

Meanwhile, the ICSA has declared that it will support farmers affected by the pipeline to legally oppose this project, but ICSA General Secretary Eddie Punch claimed farmers must work together in order to be successful.

“We have to work together, we have to make sure that no farmer is isolated and picked off one-by-one, this is the kind of thing that happens.

“I think that it is quite clear that a real question mark has to be raised over the validity of this project.

How do you justify a project to deliver water to a city, where it is quite clear now, that there is neither the political will nor the willingness of the people to pay for water in Dublin city.

“Lots of people pay for water in rural Ireland, but are we going to spend money, over €1 billion, sending water to a city that doesn’t give a damn about rural Ireland paying for water,” he said.