Thursday, 18 February 2021
Land Development Agency Bill 2021: Second Stage (Resumed)
I can hear it up here.
If the LDA has the right structure, it will cover rural areas where there are currently poor water and sewerage services because they are at capacity. Oolagh has no capacity and people cannot build a house in the area. People in Askeaton have been waiting 30 years for a sewerage system. How many Governments have promised this in the past 30 years? Raw sewage is being pumped into the Shannon Estuary. This is what we are up against.
On the other hand, if this role is given to local authorities, it gets buried in paperwork and everything goes around in circles. The Bill is not right. It must cover all areas and show where the investment will be in rural areas, towns and villages to make them sustainable. We are entitled to infrastructure as much as people in cities are. Towns and villages could become self-sustainable if the proper infrastructure were put in but the LDA will not do that. It will only go where there is existing infrastructure and it will forget about other rural areas.
Everyone is entitled to their culture. Everyone is entitled to live within their culture. We have had that right for generations. People, whether they grow up in a farmhouse, cottage or any part of a rural area, village or town, should have the right to come home and the infrastructure should be put in place by the Government. Unless there are guarantees that this Bill will provide equally across the board for all areas, towns and villages, I cannot support it because the same will happen as happened with Irish Water. Infrastructure is being pushed into the cities. The Government wants water to run to Dublin. Why not pay Limerick for it? We have no problem with that but the Government will have invest in our infrastructure if it wants our water. It is the same with land development. If the Government wants this Bill to pass, why not invest in rural areas and bring all counties with it, regardless of whether they are in an urban or a rural area? That is what I am looking for and for that reason, I will not be able to support the Bill.