*Senator Roisin Garvey (GP) at the water fill station in Ennistymon. Photograph: Eamon Ward. 

A CLARE SENATOR has said her research was central to the launch of a new scheme which will see 350 water fountains installed across the country.

Minister of State with special responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth (GP), and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien (FF) have launched a public drinking water fountain scheme.

Reduction of plastic bottle use and the provision of widespread public access to drinking water as required by the recast Drinking Water Directive, are the aim of the scheme.

€2m in funding from the Circular Economy Fund will be made available for the rollout of public water infrastructure through Uisce Éireann, Local Authorities and the National Federation of Group Water Schemes.

Initially the scheme will focus on the installation of drinking fountains within public buildings, with future phases of the scheme to include the installation of drinking fountains in public outdoor spaces.

Over 350 water fountains will be installed across the scheme, this will be done in phases over “the next few years” according to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Phase 1 which will commence later in 2024, will focus on the provision of drinking water fountains within public buildings, such as county buildings or libraries where there is an existing mains water supply. Phase 2 is to commence in 2025, will see the scheme extended to public outdoor spaces such as community centres, swimming pools, parks, greenways and beaches.

Senator Roisin Garvey (GP) pointed out that the scheme will save the public money through the provision of free public access to drinking water in towns, villages and amenities all over Ireland. She said almost five million drinks are consumed in single use containers each day in Ireland, a large volume of which are plastic water bottles.

She stated, “Ask and you shall receive. Four years ago I got one water bottle refill station fitted in Ennistymon. When I posted it on social media people from all over Ireland asked me how they could get one. There was no one place I could send them and it had been very complicated and costly for me to get that installed. I set about working on making it easier so communities could get them installed and fully funded”.

Inagh native Garvey added, “As a result of my work and research and through my securing of funding through the Minister for Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth we launched a fund to roll out water refill stations in every village and town in Ireland. We got Irish Water, all County Councils and all group water schemes on board in order to simplify the process”.

“The scheme will focus on the installation of drinking fountains within public buildings, public outdoor spaces such as parks, sports grounds and town and village public spaces,” she said.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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