The elected members of Mayo County Council welcomed the progression of the proposed Breaffy sewerage scheme through the Part Eight stage of the planning process but have urged Mayo County Council to ensure that scheme continues further on through the village to take in more areas than is currently proposed.
The current scheme which will be done in five phases will begin with zone one of the scheme which is the central element of the proposed scheme, collecting effluent from the core of the village and pumping it to the existing Kilkenny Cross pumping station on the outskirts of Castlebar town. The other four zones either gravitate or are pumped into the zone one catchment. It is proposed that zone one will be constructed first, followed by the other four zones on a phased basis.
There was a broad welcome from the elected members from the Castlebar area for the scheme, but there were a number of concerns raised by them. Fianna Fáil councillor Blackie Gavin said: “I want to welcome the scheme, it’s very important. But I’m very disappointed that it’s not being done in one block, it’s only being done in zones. The first zone will cost €2 million, a number of years ago the scheme was done in Castlebar and it cost €60 million. What I’m afraid of is that once the first phase of the scheme is done, that will be the end of the scheme and I’m very concerned about that.”
Both Cllr Michael Kilcoyne and Cllr Frank Durcan called on the council executive to keep pressure up on Irish Water to ensure that once the proposed scheme is finished it be continued on out to areas like Kilnock, Drumdoogh, Keelcoil, and Kilmacrade which are not included in the scheme. They both pressed the issue that a submission was made by a business located in the Keelcoil area that employs 50 people and could in the future employ more people if it were connected to the sewerage scheme, which terminates very close to these areas.
Fine Gael councillor Cyril Burke told the meeting: “I welcome the project, they have been waiting over 30 years for the project and it’s great news for the area. Over 200 residences and business will connect into this project and it will be delivered over 18 months to two years. In that time the area that business is in is being surveyed and hopefully by the time we get closer to the end of the project, those two areas will come in as zones at the end and will be tied into it. It’s a project that once it gets approval today will get going which is a great thing.”
Director of Services for Mayo County Council, Paddy Mahon, addressing the concerns of the councillors that the scheme be extended once completed, said: “We’re committed to working with Irish Water to make sure the sewerage scheme is extended to all parts of the areas, particularly the areas the petitions came from.”
He also responded to a query from Cllr Kilcoyne about the cost of getting connected to the scheme when it was completed, saying: “The cost of connection to new sewerage scheme will be around €1,000, we’ll have to liaise with Irish Water. I know the regulator is working on a new connection price schedule, but they haven’t been finalised yet and we will expect to go with what we had before now, unless the regulator comes up with a new pricing structure in the coming months. But it’s business as usual unless we get news of a change.”