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Fine Gael and Labour directly responsible for EU Waste Water fines – Ó Broin

26 May, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin TD has stated that Fine Gael and Labour are directly responsible if the State is hit with huge fines from the European Commission for failure to comply with the Urban Waste Water Treatment directive. The government is currently facing proceedings in the European Court of Justice for failing to ensure that waste water in 38 urban areas across the state is adequately collected and treated. 

Speaking in response to information received in a parliamentary question, Deputy Ó Broin said: 

“I tabled a question to Minister Simon Coveney asking how much has been invested in waste water infrastructure in this state over the past 17 years. The figures show a big decrease in spending once the Fine Gael- Labour coalition took office, until then, even when the recession hit spending on waste water infrastructure remained between €200m and €300m.

“Fine Gael and Labour slashed the budget to €150m, €124m, and €150m in 2012, 2013, and 2014. This was at a time when Phil Hogan and Alan Kelly after him were telling people that we needed domestic water charges regime in order to satisfy the European Commission on our compliance with the Water Frame work directive. 

“Due to this neglect, Irish Water now estimate in will cost over €1 billion to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure in the 38 urban areas in breach of the directive. However, last week, a Housing Committee meeting were told that only €620m will be available for this purpose between 2017 and 2021.

“Minister Coveney now needs to outline a more ambitious investment programme that will tackle the problems not only with the 38 urban areas currently in breach of the directive but also in the additional 127 wastewater sites which the Environmental Protection Agency has concerns about.” 

Note: Please see attached the PQ in question 

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