An average of 538 litres (118 gals ) of drinking water per person is treated by Westmeath County Council from Lough Owel every day, it was revealed at this month’s meeting of the Mullingar Town Council (February 23 ).
There is an abstraction limit on Lough Owel of five million gallons (22m litres ) of water per day, and currently there is an average of 4.5m gallons (20.4m litres ) of drinking water produced daily at the Portloman treatment plant, Cllr Mick Dollard (Lab ) was told in answer to a recently submitted question to the Executive.
This water supplies 38,000 people in the north and centre of Westmeath and represents 48 per cent of the county’s population.
The other two places of water extraction in the county are from Lough Lene near Collinstown in the north of the county and from the Shannon in Athlone.
Approximately 5,000 people in Westmeath are off the mains and are supplied by wells and group water schemes. This equates to about 6.5 per cent of the population.
Cllr Dollard also queried the council’s plans for extended paid parking in the town, and made particular reference to the area around the bandroom tunnel which he described as a “free for all”.
In his last meeting before retiring, Director of Services Mr George Lambden, assured Cllr Dollard that: “a review of car parking in Mullingar is being reviewed by the area office” and he made specific reference to this sub-tunnel al fresco parking.
“Part of this land still belongs to Bennetts [the firm redeveloping the area] and they have to work on the Blackhall archaeology and have to fence this area,” said Mr Lambden.
“Mullingar Town Council will then designate the area,” he said.
Later in the meeting there was the whiff of a further cash injection to the town of Mullingar next year when the possibility of hosting the annual Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI ) was mooted.
As part of the correspondence addressed at the meeting, Cllr Illingworth read a letter from the AMAI announcing that, in the round robin habit of hosting its annual conference, 2011 was Leinster’s turn and enquired whether Mullingar was interested in tendering.
Pointing out the Labour Party conference in the Mullingar Park Hotel last autumn saw 1,700 delegates descend on the town, Cllr Dollard suggested: “We should strongly urge the AMAI to come to Mullingar”.
His opposite number Cllr Ken Glynn (FF ) agreed with this, saying: “Mullingar has a lot to offer as a conference town”.
“It would give the local media a view of how important the three local authority conferences are,” he added.
“There are lots of myths about the value of these conferences.”
Cllr Pat Collins (Lab ), who has served on the AMAI executive, voiced a word of caution to the meeting.
“The last time the AMAI conference was in Mullingar was in 1993 but there is a serious cost factor,” he said.
“We will have to put up €25,000 to host the conference - that is the minimum,”he added.
“€25,000 is mincemeat by comparison to what will come to town. We’re more than due our turn,” said Cllr Dollard.
“We will be up against a number of big hitters - Kilkenny is one [of the early applicants],” said Cllr Collins.