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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Village left without water for 30 years to take rights case to EU

Published 29/01/2014 | 02:30

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Calum Kennedy of Kilrickle National School has to rely on wells or rainwater tanks to quench his thirst
Dessie O’Brien, chairman of the group water scheme

A village which has been fighting for a water supply for almost 30 years is planning to bring a case to Europe claiming basic human rights are being ignored.

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Villagers in Kilrickle, Co Galway, have been promised repeatedly that they would be linked up to a mains supply.

Yet despite the community carrying out extensive works and raising thousands of euro towards the cost, the water supply has never materialised.

Up to 140 homes, a national school and pub must rely on wells or rainwater tanks.

Now, revelations about the costs involved in setting up Irish Water have caused the community to demand action.

"They seem to have plenty of money for Irish Water but they can't help a community that has been struggling for close to 30 years.

"Every village and town to any side of us has water but we've been ignored," said Dessie O'Brien, chairman of the Kilrickle water scheme group.

The committee estimates that €4m would complete the works. "We feel we have only one option left to us and that is Europe. We've met with a couple of solicitors and they are examining our case. We believe it is a human rights case. It's a basic human right to have water."

The village falls between the Loughrea source and Cappataggle Water Scheme and despite being assured that the work would finally go to tender in 2007 those hopes were dashed when the community was told the funds were not available.

Mr O'Brien, who owns a pub in the village, added: "Families are living off wells or tanks and it's not sufficient for families. I depend on rainwater for my bar and shop. I had to build three huge tanks to store water and spend €6,000 treating the water from my well. But if there is a party in the bar I am left hoping I will have water to flush the toilets by 1am.

"The school is surviving on a well. Any money it raises, a lot of it has to go towards treating the water when it should be spent on other resources," he explained.

Irish Independent

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