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Tipp councillors meet Irish Water about Lough Derg pipe

Thursday, 10 August 2017

SEVEN councillors from Tipperary County Council met several members of Irish Water at a special meeting last week, during which the councillors voiced their concerns about the proposed waterpipe from Lough Derg to Dublin.

Irish Water is saying that Dublin faces a water shortage in the not too distant future and it needs the water pipeline. It's proposed that the pipe will stretch from Parteen Weir at the southern end of Lough Derg and travel across the country for 170 kilometres. There are about 500 landowners along the route which will see it pass through Tipperary, Offaly and Kildare before ending in Peamount, west Dublin.

It's a €1.2 billion project which could involve microtunnelling under seven rivers. Irish Water and its parent company Ervia (formerly Bord G is) will submit a planning application for the project to An Bord Plean la in late 2017. If it's approved, work will commence in 2019 and be completed by 2024.

Farmers and landowners will be asked to grant a 50 metre wide right of way, which will become a 20 metre wayleave when the pipe has been built. The pipe itself will be 1.6 metres to 2.3 metres in diameter, with a four metre deep trench.

Many farmers are opposed to the pipe, despite the promise of financial compensation, with some stating that the soil will never be the same again, because the combination of heavy machinery and wet Irish weather will be a bad thing. A campaign called 'Fight the Pipe' was formed during the summer and it has built up a strong level of support from people living in the Shannon region.

Cllr Seamus Morris told the meeting that he knew now "how the Native Americans felt when their land was taken from them, because that is what could happen here. I don't want to see farmers' land being taken from them without their consent, I don't want to see them losing part or even all of their income.

"We are too Dublin-centric in this country. Dublin's pipes are leaking at a massive rate. Dublin should sort out its leaking pipes and not come to the country for assistance."

Speaking to the Tribune afterwards Cllr Morris said he believes the Dublin-centric thinking is beginning to shift a bit and people are talking more about focussing more development on another metropolitan centre, such as Limerick. "This would be an improvement to the current situation. The country is too lopsided at the moment."

During last week's meeting he also raised the subject of the Kennedy Report which is a report on water leakage levels in Dublin. "This report is being conveniently ignored by Irish Water," he remarked, "who rather than fix the leaks are going to significantly affect the lives of many farmers.

"I believe that the €1.2 billion earmarked for this ill-thought-out Irish Water project would be better used in making the Mid West and Limerick the new second city area which will bring a counterbalance to the unbalanced Spatial strategy which has seen Dublin grow to the unbalanced metropolis that it is. Together we can make our water work for the future economic sustainability of our region now and for future generations, but if we allow an abstraction pipe into Parteen we have handed away our chance for any chance of a properly balanced Spatial Strategy. I now feel that we need similar meetings with Limerick County council also."

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