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24/10/2021

Tipperary's largest town is being 'left behind' because of its poor water supply

Lack of investment in water infrastructure the 'biggest challenge facing Clonmel'

Water supply

There have been calls for investment in the Glenary and Poulavanogue water treatment plants

The lack of investment in water infrastructure is the biggest challenge facing Clonmel, according to the town’s first citizen.
District Mayor Michael Murphy has stated that significant projects are planned for the town and they also hoped to see an increase in the number of houses built.
But where would it all end if there wasn’t investment in the water infrastructure, he asked.
Irish Water hadn’t planned any investment for Clonmel and this was a real source of concern for him as mayor, Cllr Murphy told a meeting of Clonmel Borough District.
He appreciated the work of Tipperary County Council’s water services section but this was only a sticking plaster solution, he said.
Cllr Murphy agreed that they seek a meeting with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, to discuss the town’s problems.
Cllr Pat English described the water investment plan for Clonmel as “a total disaster”.
He said there was no commitment when the capital scheme would go ahead and how it would be funded, and there were serious delays in getting it off the ground.
Diverting water from the Monroe scheme was only a stop-gap solution and it would take between three and four years to come on board. The pumping station at Monroe had also suffered breakdowns.
In the meantime he said that some funding should be invested in the Poulavanogue and Glenary plants to ensure the town had a water supply into the future.
Cllr English said that Clonmel’s population was expected to grow by 30% by 2040. The town was the driving force for industry in the county and that growth had to be serviced by housing and a good water supply.
He said they should contact Irish Water and the minister about the frequent outages in the supply and the lime content in the water.
Cllr Richie Molloy also said that on numerous occasions in the previous couple of weeks businesses on Gladstone Street and O’Connell Street had complained about interruptions to the water supply at weekends. They found they couldn’t trade on Saturday when people came into the town.
Cllr Molloy also said that the residents in Mountain Road had said there was a dead deer in one of the streams flowing into the Poulavanogue plant and the smell was “atrocious”.
The residents felt they were getting the run around as to who was responsible for moving the dead animal, he added.
Cllr John Fitzgerald said they would have an opportunity to voice their complaints about the poor water supply at a Zoom meeting with Irish Water representatives.
“It’s just not good enough,” he said.
Cllr Niall Dennehy agreed that something needed to be done about the poor supply.
Cllr Siobhán Ambrose said her phone was “hopping” with people alerting her to outages in the Clonmel district. It wasn’t good enough because water was so vital, especially when people were trying to cook and flush toilets. Clonmel wasn’t being prioritised as the county’s capital town and was being left behind, she said.
The people answering the Irish Water helpline would tell you that Clonmel was one of the worst towns in the country for outages.
Cllr Ambrose said that every time they met Irish Water officials nothing came out of it, and it was only a talking shop.
While the council members were in favour of Clonmel seeking its own meeting with the minister, District Manager Sinead Carr said they had to be sensible about this.
If every municipal district started to look for meetings with the minister, he wouldn’t attend any meeting. They should address the problems from a strategic and policy point of view in Tipperary, and Clonmel was a key town in the county.
Ms Carr said it would be very difficult to get the minister’s attention if they didn’t address this problem on a countywide basis.
John Fogarty, the council’s Senior Executive Engineer, said that works to eliminate outages on the Mountain Road would be completed by next year.
Rehabilitation works to replace cast iron mains had taken place on the Western Road and were also scheduled for Thomas Street.
He told Cllr Dennehy that backyard drains were a continuing problem for householders. Irish Water hadn’t changed its approach on this and the legislation hadn’t changed.

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