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Collins demands urgent action after ‘damning’ ruling on water supplies

February 17th, 2024 5:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Collins demands urgent action after ‘damning’ ruling on water supplies Image
Deputy Michael Collins said it was like a ‘river of government funds has flowed directly around West Cork.’ (Photo: Karlis Dzjamko)

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THE European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ruled that Ireland failed to fulfil its obligations to ensure safe drinking water for many water schemes, including those serving Schull.

The ruling covered 21 public water supplies and nine private water group schemes. The court ruled the concentration of carcinogenic trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water in a large number of public water supplies had persistently exceeded recommended safety limits.

Independent Ireland party leader and Cork South West TD Michael Collins called the ruling ‘a damning indictment on water infrastructure delays’.

Deputy Collins’ own home is in Schull and is serviced by a scheme found to have exceeded recommended safety limits for the concentration of THMs.

‘I will be engaging with the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and indeed Uisce Éireann concerning the ruling,’ said Deputy Collins.

‘How much longer does the State need? I have been involved in the Goleen & District Community Council since 1999, and since that time raw sewage has been going into Goleen waters. That means we have been waiting 24 years for the State to deliver an upgrade to the system.

‘I have also drawn attention to the ongoing failure of Minister O’Brien and his predecessors to deliver a new sewage treatment system for the residents of Shannonvale in Clonakilty despite the fact the untreated sewage has continued to flow into the area’s main water scheme for the better part of 25 years. Similar experiences are replicated right across every county. If nothing else, this ruling should place additional pressure on government and Uisce Eireann to take all action necessary towards escalating the improvement of our water supplies, both public and private,’ said the TD.

In a statement, Uisce Éireann said that it notes the judgment by the ECJ relation to THMs.

‘Public health is our top priority, and we continue to invest in our infrastructure and implement operational improvement measures to adhere to the standards set out in the drinking water directive and deliver world class drinking water supplies for all our customers.

‘Uisce Éireann has prioritised investment in the schemes identified in the Court of Justice of the European Union infringement case as at risk from THM exceedances. Of the original 74 public water supplies included in the first European Court of Justice infringement letter, all but five of these have now been addressed. For those that remain, Uisce Éireann has comprehensive plans in place to address the issues either through upgrades or rationalisation of existing treatment plants ... We will continue to prioritise the remaining schemes identified by the ECJ as quickly as possible.’

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