Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Topical Issue Debate

Water Quality

4:15 pm

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Regrettably, Deputy Burton and I have to share time on this important matter. I was first elected to Fingal County Council 12 years ago last Sunday. During that time, there have been major deficiencies in the wastewater infrastructure in the Fingal area. Both Deputy Burton and I represent constituencies in the Fingal County Council jurisdiction. Balbriggan, Rush, Skerries and, more often than not, Malahide and Portmarnock have been affected by serious difficulties with the infrastructure provided by the county council.

There has been exponential growth in both constituencies and, in the case of coastal towns, somewhere in the region of 90,000 people live in the areas affected by no-swim notices in recent weeks. This unacceptable.

In the town of Rush which has a population of approximately 11,000 - I am sure that figure will be borne out by the census results in the next few months - 75% of the waste generated is flushed out to sea untreated. When I was elected to this House 12 years ago, there were contracts for the segregation of the wastewater and surface water in both Rush and Malahide. Both were put out to tender, but, unfortunately, both had to be withdrawn and a few years later the entire process collapsed following the downturn in the economy.

The difficulty we have is that in Fingal which has a community of more than 250,000 which is growing enormously there is seriously substandard water infrastructure, particularly waste infrastructure. While I appreciate the work Irish Water is doing in Rush, in particular, it is simply unacceptable that when we had what could not be described as a deluge - I believe it lasted for about eight minutes in Portmarnock - the entire beach had to be shut down for a period of three days. At the northern end of the constituency it had to be closed for longer; admittedly there was heavier rainfall, but the major difficulty I have is that there does not seem to be an impetus to have the infrastructure upgraded. I will ask a question and then conclude.


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