The long awaited sewerage scheme for Belmullet town looks like it could be at least another year away from seeing construction work on the ground.
At the January meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District, Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle asked: “Where is Belmullet sewerage scheme at? I want to see the road stopped for however long it takes to get the job done. Where is it at, will there be diggers on the ground shortly?”
Cllr Coyle was referring to concerns raised by councillors in the Westport area earlier in the meeting over road closures during upgrade works currently taking place on the Westport water scheme.
A spokesperson for the water services section of Mayo County Council replied: “We’re proposing to go to tender to CCTV, I would expect contractors to be on the ground in February or March to survey the existing network to determine what rehabilitation works are needed. The current programme, as I understand it, would have contractors appointed in March 2016. That all depends on when the asset strategy [in Irish Water] come back to us.”
Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway Walsh raised concerns she had about the project: “Is there a time limit on the discharge licence for the Belmullet scheme?” she asked, and was told that the licence expires in January 2016. That response concerned Cllr Conway-Walsh who went on to say: “That would raise very big concerns, because we were working on the understanding it would be completed because the licence was time limited. That gave us the confidence it would be completed. I’d be very concerned.” However she was told that the council was going back to the EPA to look for a technical amendment to the licence, and that generally when there is a reasonable programme of works lined up, it is generally granted and that is what the Belmullet scheme should be like.