independent

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Protesting for right to clean water

Planning permission is granted but fears saga could rumble on years

Ciara Galvin

A protest calling for clean drinking water in South Sligo took place yesterday (Monday) demanding that Irish Water provide a mobile filtration unit for those affected.

Sligo County Council has granted planning permission to upgrade the existing Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant, a move welcomed by many. However, those forced to continue to boil water, due to cryptosporidium detected in the water supply last year and earlier this year, say they need clean drinking water now.

South Sligo mother Anne Marie Waters, whose daughter Chloe (18) contracted the bug from dirty drinking water, told The Sligo Champion that the granting of the planning permission at the plant wasn't enough. Chloe lives with a brain tumour and a second case of contracting the bug would prove fatal to her health. "I welcome the news of the planning permission, but it's a mobile filtration system we need now. It could be another two years before we have clean drinking water, it depends how fast they move on this," said the mother.

There are still fears that the Lough Talt drinking water ban could rumble on for sometime despite Sligo County Council granting planning permission to upgrade the existing Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant.

Speaking to the Sligo Champion South Sligo mother Anne Marie Waters, whose daughter Chloe (18) contracted the bug cryptosporidium from dirty drinking water, told The Sligo Champion that the granting of the planning permission at the plant wasn't enough.

She said those impacted by the continuing boil water notice must now lobby for a mobile filtration unit.

"Chloe is fine as long as she keeps away from the water, but it's still a burden, there's always a fear of contamination. This is not good enough. Just because planning has been granted we can't lose sight that we still can't drink the water," she added.

One of the protest organisers and local election candidate Barry Gallagher, echoed Ms Waters' views. "We could be two more years waiting for clean drinking water. We now need a mobile filtration unit. There's three currently being used around the country."

Speaking about possible delays in upgrades to the plant, Gallagher outlined that certain stipulations and works could lead to delays, meaning that those impacted could be looking at a further two years of boiling and buying water. "I welcome the planning news but who knows what stipulations could be put on planning. "There's a main 18 inch asbestos pipe running through a farmer's land at Drimina. The farmer has asked Irish Water to redirect it and it will have to be changed."

Gallagher said while he welcomes the planning news, he said if it wasn't for the efforts of the Lough Talt Warriors group this progress would not have been made. "We want clean drinking water now. This affects 13,000 households," he added.

Welcoming the planning news, Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon said he will be working with Sligo County Council and Irish Water to ensure there are no further delays in upgrading the plant.

"The decision by the local authority is very welcome. I have repeatedly raised this in the Dáil as a decision was needed by both Ministers Murphy and Madigan. Finally, they moved the matter on and Sligo County Council had it under their remit once again to grant permission."

"Today's [Thursday] notice is very welcome to the residents who have not had the provision of safe drinking water."

Sligo Champion

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