Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Minister for Rural & Community Development and the Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government to properly fund the CLÁR programme to ensure that every home and business in the country has access to a high quality group water scheme or mains water scheme.
He made the call following the publication of a recent EPA report, which highlighted serious health risks in private water supplies.
“The findings of the latest EPA report make for worrying reading, with as many as one million people at risk due to poor water quality in private supplies. This problem could be managed better if homes and businesses had access to a public water supply, as these would be regularly monitored,” said Dep O Cuiv.
Between 2000-2010 the CLÁR programme, along with the normal grant scheme, was used to ensure that homes could be connected to a public water source. The programme was able to connect a large number of houses at a reasonable cost.
“If the programme were to be re-initiated, it would still be extremely cost effective, as these houses would still maintain their own wastewater services. The Minister for Rural Development is keen to talk about providing basic services, but his refusal to re-introduce this scheme is a testament to his lack of vision for basic services in rural Ireland,” said Dep O Cuiv.
“People living in rural areas would tell you that it is the lack of basic services such as broadband, water, and adequate roads that is holding these areas back.However, if essential services are provided, rural Ireland is well capable of competing with the rest of the country for employment and social opportunities”, he concluded.