BIG PROBLEM A sub-committee of 12 volunteers has been set up to try and tackle Murrisk’s water problems.
OVER 1,300 signatures have been gathered in just three weeks by a campaign for clean water for Murrisk, Lecanvey, Kilsallagh and the surrounding area.
Organised by the Murrisk Development Association (MDA), the petition is just one strand of a growing campaign calling for the delivery of clean water to an area that attracts over 110,000 visitors each year. Not only is the coastal swathe a scenic draw, it is also the location of international pilgrimage destination, Croagh Patrick, the National Famine Monument and historic Murrisk Abbey.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), the Chairman of the MDA, Chris Grady, said that some 60 attendees at a public meeting held in Lecanvey on Friday night last were told about the background to this cross-decade quest.
Mr Grady welcomed the fact that representatives from Louisburgh attended the meeting, and he confirmed their support for the campaign. The attendance of West Mayo Municipal District councillors Christy Hyland and Brendan Mulroy was also welcomed.
“I explained to them what we had encountered so far through our meetings with Mayo County Council officials and their encouragement to set up a group water scheme. This would involve us getting permission from Irish Water to make a connection to the Westport scheme,” Chris Grady said.
Mr Grady told the meeting that 30 years ago, in 1987, the Murrisk community had attempted to set up a group water scheme, but it was rejected by Mayo County Council ‘because all our water sources were coming from streams on the mountain’ and were therefore not suitable.
“During the following years, the ’90s and noughties, the council’s explanation was there was not enough pressure for the Westport supply to reach Louisburgh. But then the Lough Mask [Regional Water Supply] Scheme was connected to Westport, and the second phase was meant to go out to Louisburgh, but now we have found out that it is not part of Irish Water’s five-year plan,” Chris Grady said.
He told The Mayo News that the group has now established a sub-committee of 12 volunteers from the area, which includes Louisburgh, to move the campaign forward. They intend to go to Dáil Éireann and lobby Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring as well as Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten. They will also lobby Mayo County Council and Irish Water in their bid to deliver clean water for their communities.
Irish Water response
RESPONDING to Mayo News questions yesterday, a spokesperson for Irish Water confirmed in a statement that the utility ‘has no plans or funding allocated for such a project in the 2017 to 2021 Capital Investment Programme’.
“Currently Irish water has no funding capacity for this type of development. Our present focus is on addressing deficiencies in existing public water and wastewater systems with funding allocated with approval of the economic regulator (the CRU) to maintain and upgrade these systems,” she said.
She continued: “Murrisk is an example of a situation which poses a particular challenge i.e. the delivery of a complete new water service in a previously unserviced area. This is common across rural villages and rural linear development.
“Because this situation is typical of a great many smaller rural communities, a Working Group is being established under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG), with Irish Water as a key participant, with a view to seeking a way forward for such projects. This group is expected to conclude its work in mid-2018.”
Similar questions were also sent to Mayo County Council, and The Mayo News awaits a response.