LIMERICK County Council is allowing raw, untreated sewerage to flow into the River Deel yet was planning to prosecute one Askeaton householder found doing so, Cllr Kevin Sheahan declared this week.
And he called on the council to â€œparkâ€ the legal proceedings and not penalise the householder. â€œWe are more guilty as a body than that person was an individual,â€ he said, pointing out that the householder had been â€œcaughtâ€ by council officials. But, he explained, it was â€œnot physically possibleâ€ for that householder to divert the sewerage into the councilâ€™s own system in the town.
County manager Gerry Behan told the Askeaton councillor that legal proceedings are â€œ only taken if all other measures fail.â€ He gave an undertaking to look into the matter but said: â€œI canâ€™t give you a blanket guarantee.â€
In reply, Cllr Sheahan said: â€œIt takes two to tango. I canâ€™t guarantee Limerick County Council wonâ€™t face court proceedings.â€
But Cllr Bill Oâ€™Donnell intervened and said that remark â€œhad a veiled threat in itâ€ .â€It is unfair to bring that kind of pressure,â€ he said, pointing out that there was a division of powers in the council. â€œI donâ€™t think it is appropriate.â€
â€œI will defend the people who sent me in here anyway I think appropriate,â€ retorted Cllr Sheahan.
Earlier, Cllr Sheahan had opened the debate in the council chamber in which he he called on Environment Minister, Phil Hogan to receive a deputation of councillors regarding the lack of proper sewerage treatment facilities along the Shannon estuary.â€œWe should be careful about washing our dirty linen in public,â€ the Askeaton councillor said. â€œYou are damned if you do and damned if you donâ€™t.â€
However, he went on to outline the inadequacies of the councilâ€™s sewerage system in Askeaton, pointing out that an overflow pipe discharges untreated sewerage into the Deel along with surface water. â€œWhatever the percentage, you can see it happening. I have seen it myself and it is not pleasant,â€ he said.
He also explained that a number of houses in the town were below the level of the sewerage people â€The only place they can discharge is into the river.â€
A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated April 28, 2012