Farmers “hit on the double” by Shannon to Dublin water pipeline

The proposed Shannon to Dublin water pipeline will result in farmers being hit on the double if it proceeds as planned, according to Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara.

The candidate for Ireland South in the European Elections, who has previously been vocal in the Dáil in his opposition to the Water Supply Project, says farm holdings along the proposed route of the pipeline may be made unviable for the duration of its construction, or even permanently at a time when the viability of many farmers’ livelihoods is already being jeopardised by changes to Ireland’s nitrates derogation.

Deputy McNamara said, “Ireland has one of the highest leakage rates of drinking water in Europe and the Dublin City Council area has one of the highest leakage rates in Ireland. As a result of that, it is proposed to build a pipeline across Ireland to ship water from Lough Derg and the River Shannon. That, obviously, would cause huge disruption to landowners, a huge cost to the economy and unforeseeable consequences for the environment.”

“Shannon stocks are already plummeting without further reducing the flow of water along the natural course of the Shannon,” he pointed out, adding “there would be a larger draw on this pipeline during summer months when water levels are already very low along the Lower Shannon.”

“Farmers are being largely blamed for the ongoing deterioration in water quality across the country, while there is rarely any mention of the volume of raw sewage discharged daily into Irish waterways,” he explained. 

Deputy McNamara continued, “Instead of spending millions on piping water to Dublin where it will simply leak into the ground, this government should be investing in delivering the necessary wastewater infrastructure to unsewered communities and upgrading the many facilities that are no longer fit-for- purpose. Not only does the construction of the needed new wastewater treatment plants alleviate the pressure on the future development of vitally important infrastructure in local communities, but it also tackles one of the primary causes of declining water quality in Ireland’s waterways.”

“I cannot support any proposal to divert water from the Shannon until local authorities in Dublin and Uisce Éireann / Irish Water get their act together and put their system in order,” he added. “Otherwise, this project will just further punish farmers by making their holdings unviable while they continue to be squarely and unfairly blamed for water quality issues which could be redressed by diverting proposed expenditure on this pipeline into funding infrastructure that will significantly decrease the amount of wastewater entering our waterways.”