Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has called for an end to the 'madness' of Shannon water pipeline project
Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has appealed to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to “stop the madness” of Irish Water’s plan to pump over 300 million litres of water daily from the River Shannon to Dublin.
“We do not want to see another children’s hospital saga,” Deputy McGrath told the Dáil last week.
“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 €400m and it is now approaching €3bn. The original cost for this project was €1.3bn. I can guarantee it will not be done for €2bn,” he declared.
Deputy McGrath said that the first thing that should be done was fix the leaky pipes in Dublin. Of every litre of water that goes into the pipework in Dublin, 57% leaked before it got to houses or businesses.
“Some Third World countries, such as India, have had major investment in fixing leaks and they are able to do it, but we cannot do it in Ireland,” he said.
He also stated that there would be serious pressure on the new pipeline.
“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, asbestos and you name it. There will be water breaks all over the place,” said Deputy McGrath.
Junior Minister Malcolm Noonan responded that the delivery of the Shannon water supply project was a key strategic investment priority for Irish Water under the National Development Plan 2018-2027, and cost of the project will be identified and updated throughout the project development process in line with the procedures of the new public spending code.
Appealing to Deputy Noonan to stop what he called a “fantasy project, Deputy McGrath said that he was disappointed that the Minister of State had not given a cast-iron guarantee that all avenues will be explored, given that he was a member of the Green Party.
“It have an effect on ecology, land masses, farmers and people,” he said.
As a Green Party Minister of State, Deputy McGrath said that he hoped he will look at this and accept that it involved too much interruption to our landscape, going through people's lands, affecting the flora and fauna and all the different issues.
"He might get some of his colleagues in the Green Party to object to this because it is daft," said the Tipperary TD.
The Independent TD said that he saluted the people who were opposed to this, not because they are anti-Dublin.
"I come from Tipperary, a county rich in resources. We also have many borewells. The entire town of Clonmel is supplied by mountain streams and borewells. Every other town and village, and most farms and private houses are supplied by borewells. Dublin must be the same and as is Wicklow, which is not far out the road. There are plenty of resources there to get this water locally," he said.
Deputy McGrath also asked why Irish Water did not consider desalination of seawater.
"Surely the new Government can be innovative with its new ideas and green energies. It is telling us all to retrofit houses, and do this, that and everything else. Why does it not examine this? It should stop this pipe now. The land will never be the same again. There are problems whenever there is that kind of major excavation of the land. It is fine when a road is made because the road is made compacted, but the pipe will always keep sinking through the land," he said.