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21/10/2021

Tipperary councillor vows: 'We will stop the Shannon pipeline'

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A Nenagh councillor has called on Tipperary’s Oireachtas representatives to state where they stand on Irish Water’s plan to pump 350 million litres of water a day to the Greater Dublin area from below Lough Derg.

The €1.3bn Eastern and Midlands Water Supply Project is listed in the National Development Plan launched this week by the Taoiseach, Mícheál Martin. It is the only reference to the Nenagh electoral area in the plan, apart from funding for the Latteragh road realignment scheme which has been on the cards with funding in place for a number of years.

The plan will see a 170km pipeline being built between Parteen basin below Ballina, with water being pumped to a station outside Birdhill before going on to a new reservoir to be built outside Dublin.

“I want to ask our TDs and one senator and the Green Party in Tipperary if they think draining Lough Derg is a good idea,” said Cllr Seamus Morris following the launch of the NDP. “Is it a good idea to pump water into pipes in Dublin where it it is going to leak?”

Cllr Morris, a long standing critic of the plan from the outset, was adamant that the proposal will be stopped.

“It makes no sense,” he said.

The Independent councillor maintained that the project would not be passed in Europe and pointed to the failure of Irish Water to submit its planning application on time in 2019 as a reason for its eventual downfall.

“They are no closer to doing that,” he said. “Fifty farmers have refused to allow Irish Water access to their land, which means they have to bring the pipe around the farms. This is like another National Children’s Hospital.”

He said that those opposed to the plan had environmentalists and engineers lined up to support their cause, but they were in “no rush to show our hands. Irish Water don’t know what is coming down the tracks on this.”

Cllr Morris also said that Tipperary County Council had engaged consultants RPS to look into the proposal, but that RPS had refused to meet the councillors.

He also questioned whether or not local authorities in the Mid-West had done any analysis of their own water needs over the coming years.

“We are fighting this with our two arms tied behind our backs and blindfolded,” he said.

Cllr Morris said that Irish Water was an “unmitigated disaster” and had been given €750m to carry out surveys for the pipeline, money that could be put into waste water infrastructure in north Tipperary

“Irish Water needs to be closed,” he said.

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