TAOISEACH Micheál Martin said he is aware of the controversy surrounding the exclusion of 40 houses from the long-promised Kilcummin sewerage scheme and he will engage with Irish Water in an attempt to find a solution.
There was uproar when it emerged that residents living in Clashnagarrane, Knockataggle and Rahanane would miss out on the scheme with Irish Water claiming that they didn’t submit any applications to be included.
Responding to queries raised in the Dáil by Kerry TD, Danny Healy-Rae, the Taoiseach said it has been a long journey but the project has now been sanctioned with tenders to be issued in 2022.
KillarneyToday.com had highlighted the furious local reaction to the exclusion of three key areas with councillors convening for an emergency meeting to condemn the plans. Mr Martin said he read about concerns that 40 houses were being excluded and he was also aware that the matter was raised by local councillors.
“We will talk to Irish Water to get submissions from the residents and see if something can be done here because when we put in infrastructure, we want to make it comprehensive,” the Taoiseach said.
“We do not want to have to go back again in a few years’ time to upgrade or redo it. I will have the matter investigated, Mr Martin promised.
“Generally, we are allocating a lot of resources to our water infrastructure. We want to see good jobs done in terms of quality and in terms of covering as wide an area as possible,” he added.
Deputy Healy-Rae had pointed out that the people in Kilcummin have been trying to progress the scheme since 2000.
“Promises were being made continuously, year after year, to deliver this scheme,” he said.
“When Irish Water finally announced that it would go ahead in late 2022, the sting was in the detail because three roads, involving almost 40 houses, are to be cut out of the scheme,” he pointed out.
“The reason Irish Water gave was that these people did not apply for the scheme. Nothing could be further from the truth as they were never asked to apply. It gave another reason, that costs have increased, which is the truth. There is no point in it trying to blame the people,” the Kerry TD stressed.
He said Kilcummin is the largest parish in the country, with all streams and rivers from the area going into the lakes of Killarney. There are two nursing homes and 210 houses being accommodated, leaving out 40 houses.
Deputy Healy-Rae said the government will have to fund Irish Water properly to develop the scheme.
“It is a case of live horse and you will get grass. It will not work. Leaving out the roads of Clashnagarrane, Knockataggle and Rahanane, which the village is actually built in, is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
He added that the five Kerry TDs and municipal members of the Killarney municipal area want to meet the minister to voice their concerns.
“We will not take no for an answer. It is clear that in the first place, these roads were envisaged and these houses were to be catered for but now they are being left out of it because of money,” he added.
Mr Martin insisted that the money is not the issue in funding water infrastructure.
“Very significant allocations were made in the budget this year. I will engage. We will work with Irish Water,” he said.