Raw sewage findings a national embarrassment – Ní Riada
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for further investigations into Irish Water breaching surface water and water discharge regulations after they were found to be responsible for dumping raw sewage back into waterways in counties Cork and Clare.
The Ireland South MEP was reacting to a damning report from the Environmental Protection Agency which found Irish Water guilty of breaches in Castletownbere in Cork and Kilfenora in the Burren.
“The finding of this investigation should outrage us all but surprise no-one,” she said.
“A 2016 report found that there were 44 locations around the country where untreated sewage was being pumped back into rivers and seas.
“It will certainly not surprise the people of Kilfenora, who have been putting up with water supply issues for the past 44 years. It's a damning indictment of successive Governments that since 1974 they have not been able to install adequate water supply or water quality in the area.
“Meanwhile, in Castletownbere and Castletownshend they are endangering the environment, the livelihoods of fishermen, the health of the local population and the area's marketability as a tourist destination by dumping raw sewage directly in the harbour.
“It is unacceptable, indeed a national embarrassment, that in the 21st century we have towns and villages in Ireland still being denied such fundamental services as safe water and safe waste disposal.
“This is typical of the attitude of successive governments to the country outside the Dublin bubble and if anyone is in any doubt about that I would encourage them to look at the map released by the Environmental Protection Agency pointing out the spots across the country where raw sewage is being dumped. They are almost entirely in the south and the west, with a quarter of them in Cork alone.
“Also affected are Wexford, Waterford, Kerry, Limerick and, as we have seen, Clare.
“Many of these communities have been waiting half a century for a decent and safe water supply; they have waited long enough.
“There must be no further delay in investing in infrastructure in rural areas to provide safe drinking water and clean natural habitats. This is the very least people in a modern, wealthy, developed nation should expect.”
"I want to assure the people of the affected counties that as their MEP I will be raising this issue in the European Parliament to see if there is funding available for upgrades or legislation that could finally compel our own Government to act."