Landowners have 'huge concerns' on Shannon pipeline project

Image: Irish Water
Image: Irish Water
The Irish Water project has fallen behind

Eoghan MacConnell

Irish Water has fallen a year behind schedule in lodging its application for a proposed 170km pipeline from the River Shannon to Dublin.

The controversial €1.2bn Eastern and Midlands region water supply project proposes running a pipeline from Parteen Basin on the River Shannon in Co Tipperary through several counties to Peamount in South Dublin.

The project runs through around 500 farms - the majority of which are in Tipperary, Offaly and Kildare - and once completed should supply water from the River Shannon to counties Clare, Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Laois, Meath, Kildare and Dublin.

IFA environment chair Thomas Cooney said farmers are anxious about the project. "We have had no compensation talks yet. There is a number of issues to be clarified before we would enter talks," he explained.

During construction, farmers face the worrying prospect of having their farm land split up. Mr Cooney said that "landowners have huge concerns about this 50 metres that is going to be taken up for 18 months to two years." Clarification is needed in relation to permanent structures associated with the pipeline, implications for future planning permission and land value among other things, he said. "We are talking about a massive trench across the country," he pointed out.

"Farmers along the Shannon need full clarification that there is not going to be any other restrictions on them," insisted Mr Cooney.

Offaly farmer James Casey and three neighbouring farmers successfully negotiated some changes to the original pipeline route through their land. Had the initial plan been followed, three quarters of Mr Casey's farm would have been cut off from his farmyard during construction.

The dairy farmer, who has around 170 cows at his farm in Rathrobin, said Irish Water agreed to some changes which will now result in around one third of his farm being cut off during the estimated two-year construction phase. "I think I have about one kilometre of it on my land," he remarked. "It is still dividing my farm, but it is not as bad as it was," he said.

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Irish Water had intended to apply to An Bord Pleanala for planning at the end of 2017 but the company confirmed it will not now apply for planning permission until the final quarter of 2018.

Irish Water say they will still meet the timeframe initially set out of 2025.

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