Thursday 8 December 2016

Kenny defends septic tank U-turn 'common sense'

Fiach Kelly and Eoghan MacConnell

Published 08/02/2012 | 05:00

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny yesterday waded into the septic tank row and defended Environment Minister Phil Hogan's climbdown on registration fees for tank owners.

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It comes after Mr Hogan announced an early offer for those who had to register their tanks under new rules -- a €5 fee for the first three months, but €50 thereafter.

Mr Kenny said Mr Hogan adopted a "common sense" approach, and encouraged people to avail of the €5 offer.

"I am quite sure we are going to have people spluttering into their pints and saying: 'Oh God, I should not have bought this, I should have registered the septic tank instead'," the Taoiseach told the Dail.

"For less than the price of a pint in many establishments, a person can register the fact that he or she is the owner of a septic tank. I would encourage everyone to avail of the common sense offer of a registration for €5 in the three-month period," he said.

The registration system will begin in April, and people will have a year to register their tanks.

Mr Hogan yesterday said there would be financial assistance "if it is required" for people to fix their septic tanks if inspections found they were not up to scratch.

Mr Hogan's commitment follows on from his spokeswoman saying genuine "hardship cases" would be looked at.

The opposition and rural lobby groups also called for retrofit schemes for those whose tanks may need to be upgraded, and Mr Hogan himself has admitted repair works could cost as much as €8,000. While welcoming the announcement of the €5 registration fee offer, the Irish Rural Link (IRL) called for genuine support for hardship cases.

"The minister needs to ensure that householders are not burdened by unnecessary huge costs and that they are given plenty of support by the local authority in any works that may have to be undertaken as a result of inspections," IRL chief executive Seamus Boland said, and called for a means-tested grant scheme.

"By adopting such an approach, this Government would at least be showing that, despite the hard decisions that need to be taken, they will always look at the humane approach rather than one which is based on fear."

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