Dáil Éireann - Volume 285 - 28 October, 1975

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Water and Sewerage Schemes.

33. Mr. Lemass asked the Minister for Local Government the number of towns in Ireland with a population of 1,000 or more that treat the town sewage before it is disposed of in a local river or into the sea.

Mr. Tully: There are 157 towns in the State with a population in excess of 1,000. In the case of 113 of these the sewage is treated before discharge to the receiving waters.

Mr. Lemass: I thought it was less.

Mr. Tully: It was until a couple of years ago.

Mr. Lemass: Plans were there when the Minister took over.

34. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government the present [333] position regarding sanction for the Errill sewerage scheme, County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

35. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government the present position regarding sanction for the Portlaoise sewerage scheme, County Laois: and if he will make a statement on the matter.

36. Mr. Lalor and Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Local Government if he will approve the contract documents for Portlaoise sewerage scheme which have been in his Department since the 27th May, 1974.

Mr. Tully: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 35 and 36 together.

The contract documents for both these schemes are under consideration in my Department. I cannot say at present when I will be in a position to convey decisions regarding them to the local authority.

Mr. Lalor: Is the Minister aware that technically these are repeats of questions asked about seven months ago? At that time in relation to the Portlaoise sewerage scheme the Minister invited me to put down another question within a month when he expected to have a favourable reply? Why has there been such a delay?

Mr. Tully: As the Deputy is aware, a tremendous number of local authorities have submitted applications for sewerage schemes. Many of them have been carried out. As Deputy Lemass remarked a while ago, he thought there were not so many schemes. There is a very big number of applications, in fact, more than could be financed. We have to get a priority from the local authority and we have to have a national priority. This difficulty is being dealt with at present. I would be glad if I could tell Deputy Lalor it will be sanctioned on such and such a date. I cannot do that but, as soon as I possibly can, I will give that information.

Mr. Lalor: The Minister is now saying there is a question of priority and a question of the overall availability of cash. I am sure the Minister's back-up records will show that, on the [334] last occasion, Deputy Haughey mentioned scarcity of money and the Minister said that they had not fully examined the proposal and if the Deputy put down another question inside a month he would have another reply.

Mr. Tully: I had hoped that at the time. A great number of applications have come in, some of which would appear to have a higher priority. This matter is being considered at present. We could spend a couple of hundred million pounds on schemes like this in any year if we could get that type of money. Certainly it is not my fault that the money is not available. About two-and-a-half times the amount of money which had been made available was made available this year. I admit it is a drop in the ocean compared with the amount of money required. I sympathise with Deputy Lalor's point of view. I said at the time that I felt I could give him a reply, which he assumed would be favourable, within a month. Because of the huge volume of applications for these schemes—which surprised everyone including myself— which have come in since, it is necessary to ensure that they are dealt with fairly. That is why the matter is taking so much time. I am sorry about it but there is nothing I can do except try to have it expedited.

Mr. Lalor: In this instance we are talking about an application for sanction which has been in the Department since 27th May, 1974. In that context I do not think he will find anything in Laois which is more urgent than Portlaoise.

Mr. Tully: Not in Laois.

37. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Local Government if he will approve a loan of £245,000 for stage two of Rhode and Edenderry water supply scheme, County Offaly.

Mr. Tully: This loan is at present being processed by my Department.

38. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Local Government if he has received proposals from Kerry County Council for the erection of a reservoir [335] at Barleymount, Killarney to facilitate group development for the mid-Kerry water supply scheme; and the present position in the matter.

Mr. Tully: The reservoir in question is part of an extension of the mid-Kerry water supply scheme for which preliminary proposals submitted by the Kerry County Council were approved by me on the 11th September.

39. Mr. Brosnan asked the Minister for Local Government if he will sanction the loan to finance the special contribution to the Barnabrow, Cloyne, County Cork, group water supply scheme which has been long completed.

40. Mr. Brosnan asked the Minister for Local Government if he will sanction the loan to finance the special contribution to the Ballyquirke, Killeagh County Cork, group water supply scheme which was completed three years ago.

Mr. Tully: With the permission of of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 40 together. I sanctioned the loan to finance the special contributions to the Barnabrow and Ballyquirke group water supply schemes on 20th October, 1975, and the local authority have been notified accordingly.

41. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Local Government the present position regarding plans for a new sewerage scheme from Killarney to Fossa, County Kerry, which were submitted to his Department for sanction on 10th August, 1975.

Mr. Tully: Proposals for this scheme are under examination in my Department.

42. Mr. Davern asked the Minister for Local Government if he has received an application from Cashel Urban District Council for moneys and approval of a new sewerage scheme; and, if so, when he intends to accede to it.

Mr. Tully: A preliminary report for this scheme was submitted to my Department [336] on the 6th October and is under examination.

43. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government when he will allocate capital for the following list of sanitary schemes in County Laois for which applications have been submitted: (a) Durrow water supply, two houses (b) Abbeyleix water supply, three houses (c) Mountrath sewerage scheme, three houses (d) Mountrath sewerage scheme, five houses (e) Borris-in-Ossory water supply scheme, one house (f) Ballinakill sewerage scheme, nine houses (g) Durrow water supply, 15 houses (h) Durrow sewerage scheme, 11 houses (i) Mountrath water supply, 16 houses (j) Ballinakill water supply, five houses and (k) Castletown sewerage scheme, 53 houses.

Mr. Tully: I understand that the schemes referred to by the Deputy are the schemes which the Laois County Council have included in their 1976 “small schemes” programme. An allocation towards the financing of this programme will not fall to be considered until early 1976.

44. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government when he will sanction the contract documents for Durrow water supply improvement scheme, County Laois.

Mr. Tully: Additional data relating to these documents have been requested from the local authority and are awaited in my Department.

45. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government when he proposes to sanction the tender for Portlaoise water supply improvement scheme.

Mr. Tully: I am not yet in a position to indicate when sanction to the acceptance of the tender for the new treatment works for Portlaoise water supply may issue.

Mr. Lalor: Could the Minister say how long that paper has been awaiting sanction in his Department? The Minister says he is not yet in a position to deal with this sanction of the tender for the Portlaoise water supply [337] improvement scheme. When did the application come in to him?

Mr. Tully: The contract documents for the treatment plant were approved in June, 1974. On 27th August, 1975, a tender for the plant was submitted for approval.

Mr. Lalor: Is it not the case that the Department do not normally sanction contract documents until such time as they have discovered that there is money available to cover the tender when received?

Mr. Tully: That is not the situation at all; long ago they did not sanction anything at all.

46. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government when he will sanction the loan for the south eastern regional water supply scheme for County Laois.

Mr. Tully: A loan of £76,000 for this scheme is currently being processed by my Department.

Mr. Lalor: When does the Minister expect the processing procedure to be completed?

Mr. MacSharry: When he borrows another £500 million.

Mr. Tully: No, but if the Deputy knows of anybody who has it, it would be handy.

Mr. Lalor: We do not want to send Richie off again.

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Tully: He has done very well. The application has been in only since 4th September and will be dealt with as quickly as possible. I would not be able to give Deputy Lalor a date.

47. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government when he will sanction the preliminary report of the Emo sewerage scheme, County Laois.

Mr. Tully: I hope to be in a position shortly to give my decision on the proposals submitted by Laois County Council for this scheme.

Mr. Lalor: Could the Minister say when “shortly” will be?

[338] Mr. Tully: Very soon.

Mr. Brennan: Would the Minister not agree that if these schemes were expedited—for many of which he says there is no money available—a considerable impression would be made on the unemployment queues and several millions of pounds that have already been paid on unemployment assistance would have been saved?

Mr. Tully: Like myself it is a long time since Deputy Brennan was at ground level in the implementation of a sewerage scheme. There is not very much employment in them now.

Mr. Lalor: The Minister is making some woefully ridiculous statements today. Anywhere there are sewerage schemes of the type to which I am referring being undertaken quite an amount of employment is created in the relevant towns.

48. Mr. Lalor asked the Minister for Local Government if he will make a statement on the present position of the Clonmacnoise, Clonfanlough, Broomhill and Ballinahown group water scheme, County Offaly.

Mr. Tully: The design for this group scheme to serve 120 houses has been approved by the Department and Offaly County Council subject to some modifications. The carrying out of this scheme is, however, dependent on a contribution from Bord na Móna. The amount of the contribution is under negotiation between the board and the group. Until agreement is reached further progress is not possible.

Mr. Lalor: Is the Minister saying that, in relation to that group scheme, at present the Department are not involved in any way? It is between the local committee and Bord na Móna?

49. Dr. Gibbons asked the Minister for Local Government when he will sanction the regional water scheme for south Roscommon; and the amount of money that is being made available for its development.

Mr. Tully: I am not in a position as yet to give my decision regarding this scheme, the contract documents for [339] which are under consideration in my Department.

50. Mr. McEllistrim asked the Minister for Local Government if he will give sanction to the proposed Listowel regional water scheme, County Kerry.

Mr. Tully: Revised preliminary proposals for this scheme which were submitted to my Department on the 9th October are under examination.