29 MARCH 2018

Offaly ICSA chairman William Reid has said that he is hearing a lot of disquiet from farmers in the county about the proposed water pipe to Dublin and that the whole logic of the project needs to be critically evaluated by the political process before any public money is committed.

“Farmers are sick with worry about the potential impact of a pipeline being forced through their farms with the potential for extreme short term disruption and long term devaluing of the land. While we are not against progress, the case for this pipeline seems very dubious given the emerging evidence that they need to fix leakage levels in Dublin which are scandalously high by international standards before any money is wasted in pumping more water to a chronically leaky system.”

“Farmers will have to be compensated in full for all devaluation and damage but the truth is that many farmers do not want the project to interfere with their farming at all. We also have to question whether the government is genuine in its commitment under the National Planning Framework to rebalance growth from Dublin to other regional centres if we are spending a fortune bringing water to Dublin.”

“In the likely event that spending has to be prioritised when economic conditions are less favourable, then projects such as the Limerick-Cork motorway must surely take precedence over a project such as the water pipeline which is all about concentrating ever more development in Dublin.”

“It is now critical that the case for this pipeline be re-evaluated because we cannot countenance wasting money on planning permissions which will have the effect of potentially sterilising land for a project that might not happen for years. It is clear that fixing leaks in Dublin should be the priority but it is high time that politicians of all colours insist on re-examining the cost benefit analysis underpinning this whole project.”