Dáil debates

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

1:00 pm

James Breen (Clare, Independent)

After 26 years of broken promises, I welcome the allocation of €8.8 million for the Quilty, Mullagh, Scarriff and Feakle schemes. However I ask the Minister to explain the purpose of a pricing policy if an allocation can be made without the policy being finalised. How has the magic figure of €8.8 million been arrived at?

Labasheeda and Carrigaholt are small villages in the west of Ireland which are crying out for sewerage schemes but are being held back indefinitely because of the pricing policy. What criteria were used here to raise the magic figure of €8.8 million? The contract documents were submitted to the Department two years ago. Why have they not been finalised? I welcome the allocation but I cannot envisage this scheme going ahead for a long time.

The Minister hoped to save money by asking the county council to trim the schemes in the case of Mullagh and Quilty and to trim by nearly half in the case of Feakle. How is it possible to ask the councils to trim the schemes once the allocation has been made? Why was this not taken into consideration by the Minister before he made the allocation? He has given them money on one hand and told them to trim the schemes on the other hand. Those four towns are looking for a sewerage scheme but some houses will be unable to tap into it. Will the Minister change the pricing policy? Labasheeda and Carrigaholt are small villages which cannot be developed to their full potential and because there are so few houses the price per house is enormous. It is all right to have a pricing policy where there is an existing sewerage scheme but in those cases where there is nothing, will the Minister ease the pricing policy?


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