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Wait for water mains repair in Miltown Malbay ‘chronic’

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Delays to Clare projects on Irish Water’s mains rehabilitation programme have been labelled as “chronic” in Miltown Malbay.

A list of priority projects in the 2020 mains rehabilitation programme to be carried out by Irish Water was sought by elected representatives at a recent meeting of the local authority. “Is funding now allocated for Mullagh – Miltown Malbay & Castlecrine – Kilmurry schemes to commence in Q1 2020, as previously indicated in monthly management reports of December and January,” came the query from Cllr Shane Talty (FF), Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) and Cllr Joe Killeen (FF).

Responding to the motion, Irish Water stated they were taking “a risk based approach to planning this work” which they outlined was “a significant undertaking with the current resources and budget available”.

€500m is being invested by Irish Water between 2017 and 2021 under the National Leakage Reduction Programme, the response noted. “We are prioritising works that will deliver the biggest water savings to the largest amount of people”. The meeting was told the 2.5km of water mains replacement from Castlecrine to Kilmurry would commence before Mullagh to Miltown Malbay, the first phase of which is complete.

Subject to the available budget, the second phase (construction) would be carried out “in either” the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021. A review on when this part of the Mullagh to Miltown line will be completed is to take place later in the year.

Expanding on their motivation for raising the matter, Cllr Talty said it was due to “a frustrating couple of months trying to contact Irish Water over the Miltown Malbay scheme”. He questioned if Clare County Council was “acting as a mudguard for Irish Water” and maintained, “If there isn’t a commitment, I don’t think we should be acting as a line of defence”. The postmaster said the impact in Miltown Malbay had been “chronic”.

Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr O’Callaghan urged the Council’s road staff to keep an eye on the work being done when it is carried out. “The onus is on the roads guys to keep an eye on this on a regular basis”.

“It is a bit indefinite,” Cllr Killeen commented and expressed his disappointment that the Mullagh to Miltown Malbay line may not be completed until next year.

Director of Service, Carmel Kirby said, “We do report accurately in accordance with the information we have. It would be remiss of me not to ask Irish Water on the timeframe for establishment of delivery”.

An attempt by Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) to obtain a timescale for the delivery of water mains outside Doonbeg followed, “We cannot keep waiting. There were up to fifty repair jobs carried out last year”. However, Cathaoirleach, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) advised that his contribution was “not pertinent to the question” and added, “bring it up at a separate meeting”.

NOTE: This meeting and discussion took place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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