Public bodies need to start delivering for villages such as Broadford and Cooraclare before it is too late, one elected representative of Clare County Council has warned.
Following on from a recent application for rural regeneration funding which rejected putting in new treatment sewerage treatment plants and associated works in Broadford and Cooraclare, Fianna Fáil councillors, Pat Hayes, Bill Chambers and Tony O’Brien proposed at the September meeting of the local authority that alternative sources of funding be sought. “We now propose that Clare County Council seek approval to raise a loan to for these projects.”
Cllr Hayes acknowledged that “several different ways of getting this project over the line have been tried”. “To be told we don’t fit the criteria for RRF by Dept of Rural Development goes against what Rural Regeneration stands for”. He was critical of Irish Water for not revealing future plans and declining to outline their capital investment project. “Towns and villages like Broadford, there’s over 50 of them on a list but there is no planned programme. The goodwill from communities is falling down the track”. He reiterated his call for a loan to be raised for both projects. “If we don’t try to use our political mandate and start delivering for towns and villages, there won’t be any towns and villages.
Cooaclare’s wait for a sewerage scheme has gone on for longer than two decades, Cllr Bill Chambers stated. “I hope something will come out of it. We’re raising loans for everything, I can’t see why we couldn’t for this”.
“Irish Water don’t have a remit to look after Broadford but we do as councillors, the people elected us to represent them and to articulate their views, I can’t sit here and accept the answer that is there,” Cllr O’Brien responded. “I represent the people of my Municipal District and the people of the entire county, I don’t accept or I will not let Irish Water make excuses for not delivering a people that the people of Broadford and Cooraclare deserve”.
Fine Gael’s Gabriel Keating added his voice to the discussion. “Nobody has mentioned Carrigaholt but I will and have done for the past 10 years. Carrigaholt was promised a sewerage scheme in 1962. Today it has 20,000 visitors passing and if the two pubs close tomorrow, there is no place for a visitor to go to the toilet. Maybe we should think about borrowing a few quid from the European Investment Bank. If you don’t have a sewerage scheme in a village, what have you”.
Responding to the various viewpoints, Director of Service Carmel Kirby commented, “This isn’t a problem unique to Co Clare”. She cautioned that they could be prohibited from raising the loan. “Irish Water comes under the Department of Housing, something has to happen at that level”.