The battle has just begun, says group opposing Shannon pipeline

River Shannon

The campaign against Irish Water’s plans to extract water from the River Shannon to pump to Dublin will only now truly begin, those leading the fight to prevent this “environmentally and economically bankrupt” plan have stated today.

Speaking following a Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government meeting on the matter, the group said it was energized and emboldened by the support it has received over recent days.

The Chairman of the River Shannon Protection Alliance, Gerry Siney, said: “This is the third biggest public infrastructure project ever undertaken in Ireland’s and despite the best efforts of Irish Water to blindside the public with false facts, our message is getting through, principally around the fact that 57% of all water in the Dublin system leaks through its ageing pipes.

“Thanks to media coverage in the last 24 hours we have been able to clarify a number of the misleading and false statements that Irish Water has made.  We have had a huge number of declarations of support from members of the public across the country, including large numbers from Dublin who know that replacing the pipes is inevitable. They’re essentially asking ‘why not do it now and avoid spending €1.3bn  bringing water from the Shannon’.

“We have also been bowled over by significant pledges of financial support, support that we will need to fight this, not least given Irish Water’s history of spending big on failed campaigns. We will now regroup over the coming days and plot our next steps but the public support is certainly encouraging us for the fight and we won’t stop fighting until we see this proposal off in the same way as it was twice seen off further up the River Shannon.”

Emma Kennedy of Kennedy Analysis,  one of a number of entities coming together to oppose the proposal, said that while today’s Joint Committee meeting was welcome, Irish Water continue to make misleading and false statements in an effort to support their bid to bring a pipe 170km across the country.

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“The fact is that Irish Water’s CEO Gerry Grant has at least now accepted, albeit only when asked to clarify in a media interview yesterday, that their 38% leakage figure only covered network leakage  – it didn’t include a drop of leakage from the customer’s side of the stopcock.  Once that leakage is included, Dublin’s total leakage is almost certainly at least 57%. That’s an undeniable and staggering amount. But as bad as that is, a point that is being lost in the last two days is that the ancient pipes are the single key cause of Dublin’s outages. These outages, as during Storm Emma, are leaving businesses and households without water and that won’t change until Irish water undertakes an overhaul of Dublin’s pipes.
“It was proposed at the Joint Committee meeting that an independent analysis should take place to clarify the facts.  This is something that we have been looking for all along but Irish Water have avoided any discussion on.  Based on the inaccuracies I heard from them today, I suspect they will continue to avoid that option.

Liam Minehan, a member of the Fight the Pipe group and whose Tipperary farm will be divided twice by the 7ft diameter pipe concluded,  “I could just about accept this pipe if it was needed but I cannot when it’s not needed.  Sometimes you have to pinch yourself when you think that they are seriously trying to get a proposal across the line to pump all this water 170km across the country for three hundred million litres a day to be spilt through creaking pipes. That’s the equivalent of sending 12,000 water tankers a day into Dublin only for the water to be poured down the drains.  Even thinking about the amount of time that would take is mind boggling.”

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