Mayo County Council was this week granted €3.4 million from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government under the 2014 Rural Water Programme. The bulk of the funding relates to group water schemes for design, build, operate (DBO ) projects, as well as connections to public mains and takeover projects.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “I wish to thank Minister Hogan for this substantial funding representing an important and ongoing investment in rural communities around Mayo, as well as contributing to job creation in the county. This funding will help ensure the protection and improvement of water quality and water provision in rural areas. I look forward to the funding being put to good use, as soon as possible.”
Ballina based Dáil deputy Michelle Mulherin said of the grant: “This is a considerable increase on last year. In some rural areas of Mayo the water coming through the taps is not only unfit for human consumption but in some cases not fit for personal bathing.
“I have seen red colouration coming through the taps that makes it unsuitable for people to wash their clothes,” she added. “In most cases the contamination is naturally occurring because of the ground conditions in a particular area and, in spite of drilling wells, people cannot get a clean water supply. Locals in Kilmurry, Downpatrick, Ballycastle, Massbrook, Aghalonteen, Carracastle, and Furmoyle have been trying for years to have new group water schemes built to address the problems.”
She continued: “I have been working with the Minister on this issue and have made a robust case both in the Dail and privately to the Minister. I am delighted the Minister has now changed funding rules after consulting with the National Rural Water Services Advisory Committee to allow an additional €1,000 per household of grant aid towards the provision of these new group water schemes. Under previous rules the council was only entitled to recoup a maximum of €6,500 per house from the Department. The new grant will now be €7,500 per house. Households pay approximately €1,200 each also. The problem has been that the estimated cost of each scheme was too high compared to the amount of funding available from the Department. When the Clar programme was in existence the shortfall in funding came from there. Since Clar was abolished these people have been left in no man's land with no solution in sight for their dilemma.”