An Achill councillor has accused Mayo County Council of letting the people of Achill down by not demanding a ‘total upgrade’ of the water treatment plant on the island.
A boil notice is currently in place on Achill’s water supply while essential upgrade works are carried out at the Corrymore treatment plant and it is expected to remain in place until the end of March.
Achill councillor Paul McNamara raised the issue at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Westport/Belmullet Municipal District after he complained that councillors were not informed of the impending boil notice at last month’s meeting.
Cllr McNamara said he was informed on January 26, the day after the last monthly meeting, of the boil notice and complained that he should have been informed at the meeting.
“The day before we had a municipal meeting and it was not on the agenda that Achill would be on a boil notice for eight weeks. It should have been on the agenda and discussed.
“I think it is totally unacceptable that it wasn’t discussed at the municipal monthly meeting. That is what these meetings are for, to facilitate the people who elected us to represent them. For me to get a phone call the day after the meeting to say Achill was going on a boil notice was ridiculous,” he said.
Last August a ‘do not consume’ notice was placed on the Achill water supply for a month after the plant could not cater for the high demand for water due to the influx of visitors.
Cllr McNamara warned that the works currently taking place on the plant will not be sufficient if there is the same influx of visitors and said the council should be demanding a total upgrade of the plant.
No council request
“I have asked since last September for this plant to be upgraded and nowhere have I seen Mayo County Council making a request for the same. The plant is designed for 2,800 customers and I have been told this [upgrade work] may increase the plant by 20 percent and that is only a couple of hundred people of an increase.
“Why isn’t Mayo County Council calling for a total upgrade of this plant? I have been calling for it since last September and I find it totally unacceptable that we are just kicking the can down the road.
“We are letting down the people of the parish by refusing to deal with the problem that’s ahead and the problem is the plant needs a total upgrade and nobody is calling for it only me.”
Cllr McNamara demanded a full report of how the council and Irish Water expect to deal with an increase in visitor number for the next meeting. His demands were supported by his fellow councillors who also criticised Mayo County Council for failing to inform councillors of the boil notice at the last meeting. They also stated that another failure this summer will not only be a disaster for Achill but for the region.