Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michelle Mulherin, has welcomed confirmation given to her by Minster for the Environment, Phil Hogan, that homeowners who face difficulties in paying for upgrades to their septic tank could receive financial assistance from the State.
“I also welcome his confirmation that inspections will only be carried out on areas where it is believed there is risk to ground water contamination and not every septic tank in the country will be inspected,” stated Dep Mulherin.
“The septic tank inspections will help identify where groundwater, which is the source of much of our drinking water, has been contaminated as a result of faulty or dilapidated septic tanks. Despite much political scaremongering, the overwhelming majority of people in rural areas are responsible people who want to be assured of clean water and do not object to the €50 once off registration fee.
“I would like to remind these opposition TDs that many of us Government TDs represent rural Ireland first hand and the very negative picture they paint does not tally with what I am hearing on the ground. Most would think it fair that if their septic tank or their neighbours’ septic tank was polluting their drinking water the problem has to be remedied. And in relation to fears that the expense of remedial works which might not be affordable for some, the Minister has provided comfort to them in response to my request.
“As things stand we don’t know how many septic tanks we have or the extent of the risk to human health and our environment. Therefore a fundamental objective of the new legislation is to enhance and protect public health and the environment which will in turn benefit rural dwellers in terms of a better quality of life and better quality water.”
Following a public meeting organised by Mayo Sinn Féin on the implications of new legislation on septic tanks on Friday last in the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar, Councillor Thérèse Ruane said: “Sinn Féin is opposed to the septic tank charge and criticises this Government for shutting down debate on this issue and ramming through legislation to enact this unfair and unjust rural tax. More than 150 people came out to find out more information and to air their views on this issue. People are angry at this attack on rural Ireland and insist that they won't go down without a fight.”
Westport Sinn Féin held a further meeting on the septic tank issue last night (Thursday ) in Aughagower.