Opposition to Irish Water plan for 200km pipe is gathering

IFA says proposal is being 'foisted' on landowners while SF councillor accuses State of 'plundering' Tipperary asset

Opposition to Irish Water plan for 200km pipe is gathering
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Mr Whelan also said they were concerned over privatisation and were delighted that a proposed Bill by Independent TD Joan Collins to maintain water in public ownership was receiving widespread political support. However, he said, the Government hadn't yet come out either way.

“The problem is not a shortage of water in Dublin. It is a shortage of treated water. Most of the pipes are Victorian and it is admitted that 40 per cent of the water is leaking away,” he said.

Mr Whelan said they were getting support from farm groups, with farmers who had allowed land to be taken for the M7 now saying they were sorry they had ever agreed to it.

An independent study called the Kennedy Report, which is on the alliance's website, also pours cold water on the plan, saying the population figures and projected demand were not there as these had originally been computed during the Celtic Tiger boom times.

IFA North Tipperary chair Tim Cullinan told the Tipperary Star they were “absolutely” against the pipe and claimed it was being “foisted” on them.

“There has been no real consultation,” he said. “We have met Irish Water on a number of occasions but are finding it difficult to get answers to what will happen during and after construction.”

Among their major concerns was that farming practices might be changed and that limits would be put on the amount of organic fertilizer they could use within a certain distance of the Shannon. This could even affect farmers many miles from the Shannon as local rivers would drain into it.

“It could have serious impact on incomes as €1bn of Irish agriculture's €10bn exports come from Tipperary. The pipe is going through an intensive farming area,” he said.

Sinn Fein's Cllr Seamus Morris, described the plan as “plundering Tipperary's most prized asset”.

He warned it would will now unleash a ferocious campaign to protect the economic viability of the Mid-West .

“The announcement smashes any pretence of any spatial strategy and shows that locally elected TDs are willing to surrender the economic future of the region for a few full time jobs. The region has the potential to use our most prized asset to bring thousands of jobs to the region that has the people, the universities, the second deepest port in Europe, an inernational airport and plenty of land to grow the economic potential of the region for our children and our children's children,” he said.

Cllr Morris said the plan will be fought in Tipperary and the EU as it breaks the European water framework directive.

“It is doomed to fail,” he said.

Irish Water will hold public consultations over the next 14 weeks to seek feedback on the development and to seek views on what should be considered in the Environment Impact Statement (EIS) which will accompany a planning application to An Bord Pleanála in late 2017.

They said that while significant progress had been made in relation to water savings from leakage reductions and water conservation initiatives, these savings alone will not meet the long term needs of the region.