The national media’s coverage of water restrictions in Dublin came under fire at this Monday’s meeting of Nenagh Town Council. Most media reports have mentioned the proposed plan by Dublin City Council to extract water from Lough Derg as the only solution to the capital’s water shortages.
“We are seeing in the national media talk about fixing the leaking of water in Dublin being linked with getting water from the Shannon,” said Cllr Seamus Morris. “It is important that we set the record straight.”
He called for a statement to be made by county manager Joe MacGrath on the issue that would be given to the media.
“A whole process needs to be gone through and it has not even started,” he said. “There is no guarantee that it will ever be finished.”
Cllr Morris pointed out that Dublin was losing 40 per cent of its water through leaks and maintained that the water in Lough Derg was needed to maintain County Tipperary.
He said out that the local council could not cut reeds from the lake without going a process because the entire lake was a Special Area of Conservation.
The Sinn Fein councillor believed that Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan was in the process of “stealing money from the Local Property Tax to put into Irish Water,” an organisation he described as a “retirement home for ex-county managers”.
“We are being sold a pup on water. The water will end up in a private lake in the Midlands to be sold on to the highest bidder,” he stated.
Cllr Morris was supported by Cllr Virginia O’Dowd, who said she “couldn’t believe the arrogance of Dublin City Council” when it came to finding a solution to their problems.
“Minister Hogan has stated it will take seven or eight years for the scheme to be in place. He has never mentioned it has to go through planning or that we might even object,” she said.
The Labour councillor said the need for increased capacity in Dublin was “built on a myth” that Dublin’s population was to keep growing.
Cllr O’Dowd called on Dublin City Council to “start looking for alternatives” and to “take Lough Derg out of the equation”, claiming they had a “lazy attitude” and no interest in the environmental impact.
Cllr Tommy Morgan said that there was no water shortage in Dublin, the problem was one with infrastructure.
Mayor Jimmy Moran said the Ballymore Eustace reservoir was “one of the best built”, and maintained that Dublin’s pipes were “leaking everywhere. That is the first thing you tackle.”
Town manager Marcus O’Connor defended Dublin City Council, saying they had stated there was a process to be gone through. He also pointed out that unaccounted for water was at 29 per cent and the city had 2 to 3 per cent spare capacity, while it was 40 per cent in most cities.