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Achill sewerage breakthrough

Achill sewerage breakthrough

Anton McNulty

NEARLY 30 years after it was first put before Mayo County Council, and after many false dawns and promises, it finally looks like the Achill Sound Sewerage Scheme will become reality.
A new funding package has been agreed between the Department of the Environment and the Council for the €5 million scheme, which was approved in 2000.
The Department will provide €3.769 million and the Council will fund the balance of just over €1.6 million. The sewerage scheme will have a capacity for a population equivalent of 1,200 and can be extended in the future into the villages of Polranny and Shraheens.
The Achill Sound Sewerage Scheme was held up after it came under the polluter pays policy, which was introduced in 2002. The initial scheme was to cost €9 million, but it was downgraded and since then the Department of the Environment and Mayo County Council had been at loggerheads over the local contribution for the scheme. The resolution means the project can now go ahead once the tenders are signed, with the likely completion date to be in 2008.
Cllr Micheál McNamara thanked the Council for resolving the issue but said he felt it was wrong that the Ballina and Castlebar schemes, which were approved at the same time, were allowed to go ahead while the Achill scheme remained on the drawing board.
“It is an absolute disgrace that it did not go ahead prior to this and it is absolutely essential that it goes ahead as soon as possible to allow the village to develop. It will be great to see this scheme transferred from drawings to machines on the ground and a treatment plant in the area. But I will  only be happy when the scheme is completed and someone is down here cutting the tape,” said Cllr McNamara.
Hotelier and proprietor of Óstán Oileán Acla, Michael McLoughlin, told The Mayo News that it was the best news he heard all year and a fitting Christmas present for the community.
“It is the most important thing needed in the area, and I am delighted it is coming at long last. It should clear the shoreline and the whole area should become more tourism friendly. It will open up development all around the Achill Sound area and it will give an incentive to develop the area further. It is essential,” he said.
The announcement was also welcomed by Fianna Fáil General Election candidate, Cllr Frank Chambers.