Sinn Féin spokesperson on the environment, community and local government Brian Stanley TD has accused Minister Phil Hogan of failing to give a commitment on financial assistance for households who must upgrade their septic tanks.
Responding to the publication of septic tank guidelines by the Department of the Environment Deputy Stanley said:
“Sinn Féin fully supports protecting our water system and wants septic tanks to meet EU standards. Our submission to the septic tank guidelines was comprehensive and solution-based. We welcome their publication but Minister Hogan has once again failed to provide people with financial means to upgrade their septic tanks to meet these new standards.
“The Minister must give a commitment that financial assistance will be provided to households that need it. It is simply not good enough to arrive in forty years too late with standards and no financial plan to ensure they are fully implemented. If households are expected to register they must know what assistance will be available.
“The concern with group schemes is that they will only function when connected to existing sewers and will not work in isolated rural areas. The €2,000 grant for group schemes is totally inadequate. The Minister knows this and has given assurance that this will be revised upwards as a matter of urgency.'
“It is also important that local authority staff is used to carry out the inspections. It would be far more cost effective to utilise council engineers rather than private contractors to carry out this work.
“Sinn Féin will continue to put pressure on Minister Hogan to provide financial assistance for households in order to meet the septic tanks standards.”