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Water capacity could prevent Tulla social housing development

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*Photograph: Tulla Tidy Towns

Plans to build 22 social houses in Tulla will not be able to proceed if capacity issues exist regarding water supply.

Clare County Council in February announced it had acquired a 1.83ha site 300m from St Mochulla’s NS and 170m north west of Tulla main street for the purpose of delivering 22 social housing units. In March, both Pat Hayes and Joe Cooney asked that the development be a mix of affordable and social housing.

At the May meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, further concerns were raised but this time relating to the water supply as Cllr Hayes flagged, “It is imperative that the water situation be resolved before any developments take place”. His motion required a response from Irish Water but none was forthcoming at the time of the meeting.

“It does raise the question who answers what, Irish Water won’t come here before us,” the Fianna Fáil representative commented of the utility company’s failure to address any Municipal District in the county in person over the course of this Council term. “I would ask that any future developments be put on hold, the people of Tulla are very worried about this. There are 22 houses coming but no proposals from Irish Water in front of us, there is talk of upgrading water mains in Tulla but that’s not a new water source, until we have water supply upgraded and a contract in place I ask that we stall housing, you can’t do that to the people of Tulla and leave them wondering how they are going to put services in”.

He added, “Somebody is jumping the gun in terms of Irish Water giving approval and they can’t tell our senior engineer their plans for the area. That is no way of planning for the future of the area. We should use our mandate as councillors to stop this development until the services are in place. Something that needs to be dealt with.

Cllr Cooney highlighted his “serious concern” that the current supply would not be able for servicing the 22 units. “There were serious concerns in Tulla during the drought in 2018 for the water shortage, businesses suffered because of it unfortunately”. His Fine Gael colleague, Pat Burke observed, “There is a plan to build 22 houses and yet there is a question mark over water supply”.

Fianna Fáil’s Alan O’Callaghan felt the failure for Irish Water to reply made life more difficult for the councillors. He praised staff of Irish Water working in communities across Clare and expressed his confidence they could deliver. “The lads on the ground working for the past 25 years know the systems and will make it happen, it may be not this year but next year but they will be able to drive water into Tulla”.

Director of Social Development, Anne Haugh told councillors that the project had received stage one approval from the Department of Housing. She expected a period of 59 weeks before work on the development will commence. “We won’t be able to proceed if there is a capacity issue. For stage one approval you submit a preliminary appraisal, Irish Water would have to make an indication at that stage if there was a capacity issue. If at any stage there is a difficulty with servicing it will have to be addressed or it can’t proceed”.

“We need to be careful here, we can’t leave Tulla without water in the future. I would ask ye to fast track the water situation in Tulla, nobody wants to slow down a social housing development but nobody wants to cause other issues as a result,” Cllr Hayes warned.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, 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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