Group water scheme members need to be consulted — Murray

Claremorris Municipal District Sinn Fein councillor Gerry Murray has said that many group water scheme members feel that they have being abandoned by the Government and left to the mercy of the Irish Water. Speaking this week Cllr Murray said it was to be regretted that neither Fianna Fail nor Fine Gael consulted with the group water sector before agreeing to the establishment of Irish Water.

Cllr Murray said: “There are a variety of issues that need to be resolved and so far all the indications are that Irish Water are reluctant to engage with the group water sector. These group schemes are connected to public water sources and they have sought clarification on a variety of issues ranging from debt write downs to formal take overs, but Irish Water claim that as of yet they have not received any direction from the Government as to how the sector will be managed into the future.

“The most worrying aspect of the whole debacle is that the Government is contemplating delegating responsibility for some of the issues pertaining to these group schemes to the Commission for Energy Regulation, in such circumstances we can expect a clinical administration of EU law by the Commission with no allowance being made for the fact that group schemes are voluntary not for profit organisations trying to provide an essential service to rural communities.”

He concluded by saying: “In terms of private group water schemes the Government as of yet have failed to clarify as to whether the current State subsidy to these schemes will be continued, many private group schemes are concerned that the subsidy will eventually be abolished as it may contravene EU state aid guidelines and regulations.”

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