Deputy Jackie Cahill
“I know of villages and towns on riverbanks all around the county without wastewater treatment plants, but the Department does not have a register of these," - Deputy Cahill.
Deputy Jackie Cahill is calling on Irish Water to pull up socks and start taking the treatment of wastewater seriously.
The Tipperary TD last week asked Dáil Questions of Minister Darragh O’Brien regarding the number of villages and towns which are still without wastewater treatment plants. Deputy Cahill was informed that the Department does not possess a database or record of such information.
As a result, it did not come as a surprise for Deputy Cahill to hear the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency’s report that was highly critical of Irish Water. The report found that 35 towns and villages across the state have raw sewage flowing into waterways. Deputy Cahill believes it to be unacceptable for the Department not to have on the ground information in relation to this issue, especially when so many other industries have in recent years acted to prevent this in their respective sectors.
Commenting on the issues, Cahill said: “Last week I submitted two Parliamentary Questions to the Minster for Housing in relation to a register of Irish Water’s wastewater treatment plants. I discovered that the Department does not have a register of wastewater plants around the country and that this is within the remit of Irish Water alone. How are local authorities supposed to do their job properly, in the best interest of the public and our shared environment, if they do not even know where their plants are on a localised basis?”
“This morning, I listened to Dr Tom Ryan, the Director of the EPA on Morning Ireland where he stated that the EPA have identified 113 locations around the country where Irish Water need to act immediately to tackle serious wastewater issues in order to protect public health and the environment. The lack of a register means that local authorities cannot know what scale of an issue they are dealing with. I have heard reports of a significant number of urban centres in Tipperary without such plants, with wastewater flowing straight into waterways. We cannot expect the situation to improve if local authorities do not have access to registers.”
“There are sectors and industries the length and breath of our country that have invested major sums of money into improving infrastructure in order to treat wastewater. Here we have Irish Water with moral obligations to our society and natural environment to play its part in preventing the pollution of our rivers and waterways. Clearly, the answers to my enquiries last week combined with today’s report prove that major investment is needed.”
“I know of villages and towns on riverbanks all around the county without wastewater treatment plants. The Department does not have a register of these. Significant investment is needed to prevent the pollution of our waterways and it is time for Irish Water to get to work on this”, Cahill concluded.