Last Fridays official opening of the new €9 million water treatment plant is very welcome. Huge inconvenience has been experienced by the population in Ennis for the past decade, and confidence and trust in the water supply has been massively eroded.
The official opening of this plant will go a long way to restoring people’s confidence in the water quality. I am happy to have played my part in consistently highlighting issues surrounding the water supply in Ennis, both locally as a former member of Clare County Council, and nationally in Dáil Éireann.
Lessons must be learned from this experience. The town of Ennis and its environs, including Barefield and Clarecastle, can no longer depend on a single water source. The 30,000 consumers of the Ennis Water supply have had to tolerate many interruptions in supply for nearly six years with boil notice after boil notice. The Ennis Water Augmentation Scheme needs to be prioritised and delivered. This scheme will provide an alternative option, a plan B for the Local Authority with a new water source for Ennis.
At a time when the Green Party are pushing ahead with the introduction of water charges we need assurances that mistakes of the past will not happen again. Residents in Ennis have effectively had charges for water for the past decade as many have been buying bottled water throughout that period.
Minister Gormley’s visit to Ennis last Friday was welcome but he and his Government need to deliver on the Ennis Water Augmentation Scheme, which will provide a badly needed additional water supply to Ennis. Minister Gormley must not be allowed to place this Scheme on the long finger.