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Pictured in Broadford, Darragh O'Brien TD. Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara; and Clare County Councillor PJ Ryan (Independent), Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.

Minister offers up hope for work on Broadford sewerage

A FUNDING plan for the long-awaited sewerage scheme for Broadford is due to be outlined in October, the Housing Minister has said.
On a visit to Clare last Friday (August 27), Minister Darragh O’Brien met PJ Mason and other members of the Broadford Action Group and explained that a review of the National Development Plan will contain details of a funding stream for unserviced villages.
Minister O’Brien commended the action group, which he described as “very organised”, and pledged that the situation of Carrigaholt, Cooraclare and Doolin would also be looked at.
“Last year, I gave €188 million extra in capital to Irish Water,” the Minister told the media at an event in Ennis.
“Now we got to look at the towns of villages where we want people to start living again, and to regenerate them.
“We can only do that if we got the wastewater and freshwater capacity to do so… I’d expect in the National Development Plan review, that we’re working on a scheme, that we’re going to be able to help villages like Broadford.”
Deputy Cathal Crowe, who was one of the Oireachtas members who accompanied Minister O’Brien, welcomed his assurances and paid tribute to the Broadford Action Group.
“The group has been the main driving force for this infrastructure at a community level, but huge credit must also go to local county councillors and the engineering staff of Clare County Council,” he said.
“When I was first elected to Clare County Council in 2004, this was very much a live issue and the council in that year purchased land for pumps that would be part of the sewerage network.
“In the years since, they have generated various schematic drawings of how the pipeline would look and more recently have prepared thorough costings.
“For all intents and purposes this is a shovel-ready project, and this sets it apart from other unserviced villages, in that once funding is allocated, it can be delivered in a relatively short time frame.
“Minister O’Brien has put forward a proposal from his department to have a new funding stream for small villages that lack sewerage infrastructure.
“This proposal will make its way forward as part of a National Development Plan review that the government is currently undertaking and Minister O’Brien told Broadford residents and elected representatives that he hopes by the end of October to be in a position to approve this,” Deputy Crowe said.
“This is only eight weeks away and it’s the best possible indication that Broadford and its residents have had that they will have 21st century sewerage scheme.
“Broadford has had far too many false dawns and the lack of infrastructure has meant that the village cannot grow.”
Meanwhile, Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara requested Minister O’Brien to consider the inclusion of Carrigaholt, Cooraclare and Doolin in a pilot scheme providing funding for infrastructure in rural villages that currently are outside Irish Water’s investment programmes.
“The policy of developing rural villages must be preceded by investment in local infrastructure,” the Independent TD said.
“The lack of adequate sewage infrastructure in Carrigaholt, Cooraclare and Doolin needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency as the benefits for the communities in delivering such infrastructure would be wide ranging and long lasting.”
Deputy McNamara praised Minister O’Brien for his delivery of “vital” infrastructure projects in Clare, including the recent investment in Liscannor’s wastewater infrastructure, the upgrade of sewerage infrastructure in Clarecastle, and the watermain replacement scheme in Miltown Malbay, Mullagh and surrounding areas.
“I wish to commend Minister O’Brien for his non-partisan approach to dealing with problems within his remit on the basis of need,” Deputy McNamara said.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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