Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michelle Mulherin has confirmed that an announcement will be made in the coming weeks regarding 235 rural homes in Mayo which are without group water schemes. The residents of these homes have found themselves ineligible for funding for water infrastructure as a result of a change in funding guidelines and have been without a regular water supply for several years. This week Deputy Mulherin met with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin after having raised the issue again most recently in Dail Eireann last week with the Minister for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan.
Speaking after the meeting she said, “I have received confirmation that an announcement will be made in the coming weeks regarding these homes in rural Mayo that are without group water schemes. These people were left high and dry after the cessation of the CLÁR funding scheme in 2009-2010. Their group water schemes had been due to receive the requisite funding but are now caught in a bureaucratic bind and have been without a proper water supply for a number of years.
“I sincerely hope that the decision to be announced will address the extremely difficult situation that these people are in. There are seven areas in my county - Massbrook, Aghaloonteen, Downpatrick Head, Carracastle, Kilmurray, Tonacrick and Fermoyle - which contain 235 houses where people cannot drink the water or bathe in the water, in many cases for years. The problem arises from ground conditions.
“Many people in these areas have spent a small fortune trying to drill wells and access other sources, all to no avail. It has been brought to my attention by a member of the Kilmurray Cordal group water scheme that it has received notification from the Companies Registration Office that it will be struck off for failing to file returns. This is an additional expense on top oft approximately €58,000 these people have already spent from their own pockets. The promoters of the scheme are very reluctant to go around to households looking for more money when this has been going on for years. It was hoped that a scheme for Aghalonteen and Massbrook would go ahead this year and has even been tendered for but nothing further has progressed. This is very disappointing.
“Mayo County Council has received €400,000 from the Exchequer in order to fund group water schemes. This money will have to be returned if this situation is not remedied. Not alone would this represent a missed opportunity in terms of funding that could go to very good use in Mayo - these families would have their completely unacceptable situation prolonged. They have been left in limbo for too long now and are well prepared for water.