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Fight The Pipe Meeting Scheduled For Ballyeighan Hall

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A 'Fight the Pipe' meeting is scheduled for Ballyeighan Hall, outside Birr during a date in January, according to activist and farmer Liam Minehan.

 Mr Minehan said a public meeting held by Fight the Pipe in Ashley Park House, Ardcroney a couple of weeks ago attracted 80 people, a number of whom were farmers from the Shinrone/Birr area.

 'These farmers, five of them,' commented Mr Minehan, 'were very opposed to the pipe. I've been told that one of them is so strongly opposed to the pipe that Irish Water have decided to reroute the pipe around his land.'

Fight the Pipe opposes the proposed waterpipe from Lough Derg to Dublin and was set up six months ago to express the disquiet of farmers about the planned project. 

Irish Water is currently holding public consultations until mid-February to seek feedback on the proposed development of the Preferred Scheme and to seek views on what should be considered in the Environment Impact Statement (EIS) which will accompany a planning application to An Bord Pleanála in late 2017.

The Water Supply Project comprises the sustainable abstraction of water on the eastern shore of Parteen Basin at the southern end of Lough Derg with water treatment nearby at Birdhill. Treated water would then be piped 170km to a termination point reservoir at Peamount in South County Dublin. Supplies of treated water would be made available to Midland communities along the route from Parteen Basin to Dublin.

Mr Minehan said he was very happy with the public meeting in Ashley Park House during which two barristers explained to the concerned farmers the legal routes which are open to them. 'The barristers said there is no need to panic,' he said. 'The farmers were also advised that, if the pipelaying takes place, 'they should ask an agricultural adviser to assess the damage to the land.'

Mr Minehan is of the opinion that a majority of the farmers with land along the proposed pipe route, perhaps 70 per cent of them, will chose to go down the Arbitration route in opposition to the pipe.

 It was also pointed out during the meeting that Irish Water operates 472 regional water treatment plants which are not up to scratch.

One attendee suggested that Irish Water could extract water from the River Boyne. 'This wouldn't have an environmental impact on the Boyne system,' he said, 'because the water could be extracted from just above the salt line.'

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