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EU letter on waste water treatment infringements must be made public – Ó Broin

25 October, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and party spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin has called on Minister Coveney to immediately make public the EU Commission letter on the states failure to comply with EU waste water treatment law in 38 locations around the country. 

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The State has been in breach of the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive since 2013. In September, the Commission wrote again to the Government outlining its concerns and requesting further information on how the State intended to bring the 38 waste water treatment plants up to EU standards.

“I submitted an FOI request to the Department of Housing Planning, Community and Local Government asking the Minister to release this information into the public domain. This request was denied on the basis it contains information communicated in confidence.

“The short press statement published by the EU Commission on the matter in September 2016 stated that the 38 urban areas in question, which include Cork City, Dundalk, Roscommon town and Thurles, are in breach of the Urban Waste Water Treatment directive’s requirement to ensure that appropriate collecting systems and treatments are in place for discharges from treatment plants serving large agglomerations discharging into undesignated waters.

“In the interests of transparency and acting in the public interest, the Minister should release this letter. The public has a right to know exactly how bad the waste water treatment system is in their local area and which designated waters are affected and are at greater risk of pollution.

“The public also has a right to know what the Government intends to do to rectify the issues contained in the as yet unpublished letter from the Commission. 

“If the Minster fails to release this information, you have to ask what the Minister is hiding about the extent of the directive breach. And how much capital investment in the water infrastructure is needed to bring waste water treatment services up to scratch.” 

Note: Please see PQ and FOI request attached

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