BURNCOURT WATER SCHEME DELAY RAISED IN THE DAIL
Following the recent news of the introduction of €175 water charges in the next couple of years, people in Skeheenarinky/Burncourt area, many of which are still on boil notices, have questioned as to when work will commence on a new water scheme they have been promised.
Local independent deputy, Mattie McGrath raised the issue in the Dail at the beginning of the year with the Fethard and Burncourt water schemes having been on the political agenda since 1979: “In the case of Burncourt, substantial funding was approved in 1988 and funding has also been approved for the Fethard scheme. The people of South Tipperary are sick, sore and tired of promises from me and other politicians that these schemes are at an advanced stage," Deputy McGrath said.
Two schemes together “Some years ago, the department, in its wisdom and with the agreement of South Tipperary County Council, decided to bundle both schemes together. They are not big enough at €9 million apiece, so they were made into a €18 million scheme. Since then, I have been frustrated, as are most of my fellow politicians in South Tipperary, with the disastrously slow pace of progress on these schemes. Every issue has been thrown at us, including announcements of approvals.”
Deputy McGrath highlighted the problems in Burncourt and Skeheenarinky with reports of E.coli being found in the water during the winter, which required a ‘boil water’ notice: “It is the people’s water. The water comes from underground springs and rainfall and it belongs to the people - it is from God.
"I want to know why we need extraction orders when we never had them in the past. The laws are antiquated where they are in place at all. They are being put in place to circumvent progress. We must have progress because I cannot have credibility in going back to the doors of local people, nor can my colleagues, while we wait for this work to start, never mind be completed.”
CUT OUT BUNKUM
“There are charges for business people on the basis of ‘water in, water out’ and charges are now being suggested for private domestic use. I believe we cannot have treated water without there being some charge as it costs a lot of money.
"However, we should cut out the red tape, cut out the bunkum, cut to the chase and get these schemes designed," Deputy McGrath added, Another South Tipperary TD, Deputy Seamus Healy of Clonmel raised the issue in the Dail last month, asking the minister to fast track the scheme in question: “People in the area, have suffered for years owing to poor, limited and frequently interrupted water supply. Water is a basic need in the 21st century but water supply to the area in question is interrupted regularly.
"Not a week passes without a break being identified and supply interrupted to families and businesses in the area.”
Minister for the Environment, Deputy Phil Hogan responded by saying that the scheme in question is included in his department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012 as a contract to commence in the lifetime of the programme.
“The Department is waiting for further information and tender documents from South Tipperary County Council. Once these documents have been received, it will be in a position to consider them.
"The Part 8 planning process was successfully completed earlier this year. The site investigation process is ongoing and South Tipperary County Council proposes to commence the tender process for the contract for the water treatment plants in mid-2011.
"It is envisaged that the contract could be completed in early 2013, subject to obtaining the necessary approvals from the department as the process advances," Deputy Hogan said.
HOPEFUL OF COMPLETION
“It is important that the Fethard and Burncourt regional water supply scheme water treatment plants contract and mains rehabilitation works reach construction stage and are completed as quickly as possible. I undertake to give the matter priority when the documents are lodged with the department,” the Minister concluded.
Declan Duggan, chairman of the local water group, has been in contact with the engineer in charge of the scheme at South Tipperary County Council who says he is hopeful of a completion date on the new Burncourt treatment plant in 2013.
All consumers especially the many people in Skeheenarinky area who have been on ‘Water Boil’ notices for almost two years will welcome this news.
Thursday 19th May 6:23pm