Commonage owners may take drastic action over water
COMMONAGE owners will consider closing Croagh Patrick to the thousands of visitors who climb the holy mountain during the summer season if drinking-water issues in the area are not addressed.
The Mayo News understands that the drastic option will be discussed at a public meeting in Lecanvey Community Centre next Monday night, May 14.
A young child from the area was recently admitted to Mayo University Hospital (MUH) where she was diagnosed with e-coli and cryptosporidium. This frightening health incident has served to highlight the seriousness of the problem in the area, according to Mr Chris Grady, the Chairman of Murrisk Development Association (MDA).
When contacted by The Mayo News yesterday (Monday) about the threatened closure of the mountain pathway, Mr Grady confirmed that ‘people with commonage rights have suggested blocking the pathway’ at two recent meetings: the meeting of an ad hoc committee representing communities from Belclare to Louisburgh and an MDA meeting held last week.
“It would be a shame if the communities affected have to resort to such an option as the tourism season starts off. It would be a much better option to explore how we can go forward reasonably, but anything is liable to happen at this stage, with children from the village getting sick and being hospitalised,” Chris Grady said.
Progress the campaign
CONTINUING, Mr Grady said that the agenda for next Monday’s meeting included formalising the structure and constitution of the ad hoc cross-community committee in order to progress the campaign for clean water for the area. The meeting will also consider whether to re-erect signage stating that the water is not fit for purpose.
The Mayo News also asked Mr Grady whether Minister Michael Ring’s assurance of his support for the campaign earlier this year had borne any fruit.
“I believe he has had communications with private individuals from the area saying he is continuing to work with Mayo County Council to try to resolve the issue,” Chris Grady said.
Mayo County Council wants the Murrisk community to set up its own group water scheme despite the fact that during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s it was repeatedly turned down because, as Mr Grady recalls, ‘all our water sources were coming from streams on the mountain and therefore not suitable’.
Moreover, then Minister for the Environment Dick Roche allocated €6.3 million for a public water project in 2007, and, while the total grant was never drawn down, €500,000 was spent on a design for the system. The system would have involved the Lough Mask public water system being extended to Louisburgh.
Last January, the campaign for clean water gathered 1,300 signatures in just three weeks.
Responding to Mayo News questions last December, Irish Water said it ‘has no plans or funding allocated for such a project in the 2017 to 2021 Capital Investment Programme’.
Interestingly, a recent Mayo County Council presentation on parking charges confirmed a revenue of €67,159.99 from the car park at the base of Croagh Patrick during 2017.
Holy mountain Croagh Patrick, which overlooks the National Famine Monument and historic Murrisk Abbey, attracts some 110,000 visitors each year.
A meeting on the extension of the Lough Mask public water system from Westport to Louisburgh will be held in Lecanvey Community centre on Monday night next, May 14, at 8pm.
All residents, business owners and interested parties in the area are being urged to attend.