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Back to the drawing board for the septic tank bill

25 January, 2012 - by Brian Stanley TD

Back to the drawing board for the septic tank bill

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, speaking during today's Dáil debate demanded that the government, “go back to the drawing board on the septic tanks bill.”

Dáil Deputy Stanley claimed: “The government is on the run from this issue. They have ducked, dived and deceived. They have guillotined the debate here in the Dáil. They refuse to engage in any real discussion. They know they are wrong. They know this bill is wrong and they know they will lose any debate.
“The campaign against this bill has been well-organised and is having a very positive effect. Minister Hogan has had to concede that the government will have a four-week consultation process before any standards are published. He conceded that some grants will have to be made available to assist householders in upgrading their septic tanks and he has also reduced the cost of an appeal from €200 to €20. While all these concessions are welcome we still believe this bill is fundamentally flawed.”

Stanley explained: “We firmly believe that the standards by which the septic tanks will be assessed must be agreed and published before any bill is agreed. We also believe that a grants scheme must be established to assist householders having their septic tanks upgraded.
“Sinn Féin is also opposed to any attempt by the government to criminalise rural Ireland by issuing fines to householders who are unable to comply with an order to upgrade their septic tank. Families will not be able to afford this upgrade, which can be anything up to €17,000. It is essential that grant are made available rather than dragging law-abiding citizens through the courts an imposing hefty fines on people.”

Speaking during a lunchtime rally outside the Dáil, Deputy Stanley urged rural Ireland, “to redouble their efforts in campaigning against this bill. We will not let you be criminalised by a government more concerned with bailouts and bankers than its own citizens. We have an opportunity, over the next four weeks, to put manners on the government. Standards must be fair and must also include a financial assistance for those who simply cannot afford the required upgrading of their septic tanks.”

In conclusion Stanley told the rally: “Sinn Féin will continue to oppose this bill right throughout the debate. We have amendments that are solution-based and will ensure a common sense approach.”

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