Limerick County Council criticised over sewerage problems

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

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.

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 “park” the legal proceedings and not penalise the householder. “We are more guilty as a body than that person was an individual,” he said, pointing out that the householder had been “caught” by council officials. But, he explained, it was “not physically possible” for that householder to divert the sewerage into the council’s own system in the town.

County manager Gerry Behan told the Askeaton councillor that legal proceedings are “ only taken if all other measures fail.” He gave an undertaking to look into the matter but said: “I can’t give you a blanket guarantee.”

In reply, Cllr Sheahan said: “It takes two to tango. I can’t guarantee Limerick County Council won’t face court proceedings.”

But Cllr Bill O’Donnell intervened and said that remark “had a veiled threat in it” .”It is unfair to bring that kind of pressure,” he said, pointing out that there was a division of powers in the council. “I don’t think it is appropriate.”

“I will defend the people who sent me in here anyway I think appropriate,” 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.“We should be careful about washing our dirty linen in public,” the Askeaton councillor said. “You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

However, he went on to outline the inadequacies of the council’s sewerage system in Askeaton, pointing out that an overflow pipe discharges untreated sewerage into the Deel along with surface water. “Whatever the percentage, you can see it happening. I have seen it myself and it is not pleasant,” he said.

He also explained that a number of houses in the town were below the level of the sewerage people ”The only place they can discharge is into the river.”

A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated April 28, 2012