Shannon pipeline ‘is needed’ Green Party Min­is­ter claims

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARMING - Ciaran Moran

THE de­liv­ery of the planned €1.3bn Shannon to Dublin wa­ter pipeline is needed according to Green Party Min­is­ter Mal­colm Noo­nan, de­spite pre­vi­ous op­po­si­tion in his party to the project.

The project, which rep­re­sents the biggest in­vest­ment in Ire­land’s wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture in more than 60 years, has faced pub­lic op­po­si­tion from two cam­paign groups, Fight the Pipe and the River Shannon Pro­tec­tion Al­liance, who say the project will re­sult in the “de­struc­tion of 2,000 acres” of farm­land.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tion­ing, Min­is­ter Noo­nan said the pipe is needed to ad­dress cli­mate change and to en­sure the sup­ply is fit for pur­pose and can with­stand ex­treme weather such as droughts and storms.

“It will en­able the pro­vi­sion of treated wa­ter to com­mu­ni­ties in north Tip­per­ary, Of­faly, Laois, West­meath, Kil­dare, Meath and Wick­low in ad­di­tion to Dublin,” he said.

“The de­liv­ery of the Shannon wa­ter sup­ply project is a key strate­gic in­vest­ment pri­or­ity for Ir­ish Wa­ter un­der the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan 2018-27.”

High-rank­ing

The Green Party’s sup­port for the project comes de­spite re­cent op­po­si­tion within the party to the plan by high-rank­ing mem­bers.

Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe last year said the Gov­ern­ment should pri­ori­tise wa­ter har­vest­ing and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion to re­duce the need for new sup­plies.

“Pump­ing wa­ter from Lough Derg to Dublin will cost more than €10m an­nu­ally, and may breach the Euro­pean Union’s Wa­ter Frame­work

Di­rec­tive,” he said. “High energy costs for pump­ing will also threaten our cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion tar­gets.”

In­de­pen­dent Tip­per­ary TD Mat­tie Mc­Grath, a vo­cal op­po­nent of the plan, asked Min­is­ter Noo­nan, “as a mem­ber of the Green Party, to stop this mad­ness which will have an ef­fect on ecol­ogy, land masses, farm­ers and peo­ple who want to carry on their business un­in­ter­rupted”.

“Com­pul­sory pur­chase or­ders and no­tices to treat will be is­sued. The land will never be the same again. There are prob­lems when­ever there is that kind of ma­jor ex­ca­va­tion of the land.

“It is fine when a road is made be­cause the road is made com­pacted, but the pipe will al­ways keep sink­ing through the land. There will be con­sid­er­able dam­age to the flora and fauna, and to the rich her­itage in the lands it goes through.”

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