Latest developments aimed at progressing further the delivery of the long awaited Gaoth Dobhair Sewerage Scheme have been welcomed by local TD Pearse Doherty.
Deputy Doherty was speaking following the announcement this week that a briefing session is to be held this Friday 3rd March to appraise public representatives of the scheme which has been identified as a positive solution to the area’s current lack of waste water infrastructure and to ensure compliance of the state’s obligations under EU legislation.
Welcoming the development, which comes almost two years following a damning report compiled by Deputy Doherty and Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy to the European Commission arguing that the state was in violation of EU Law over its failure to deliver the scheme, Deputy Doherty said:
“As everyone is acutely aware, the failings of successive governments over the last forty plus years to successfully introduce a sewerage scheme to serve household and businesses here in Gaoth Dobhair has had the effect of severely impacting the region’s economic development and prosperity.
“Back in May 2015, MEP Matt Carthy and I therefore took the decision to submit a report to the European Commission in which we argued that the state was in breach of community law due to this failure to introduce a dedicated collection system in Gaoth Dobhair.
“In response to our submission, and after the exchanging of a series of correspondence between both the Department and the commission outlining these allegations that a suspected breach had occurred, the Commission subsequently issued its ‘Reasoned Opinion’ last September as it had determined that the state was in fact in violation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive in this instance.
“In its determination, the Commission confirmed that it has decided to initiate formal legal proceedings against the state as it was not fulfilling its legal obligation to provide waste water collection services in Gaoth Dobhair.
“In the months following the Commission’s verdict having been made, I met with Irish Water’s parent company ‘Ervia’ last November, where I received confirmation from the company that it was now committed to finally seeing the project delivered, and that proposals for such a scheme were being prepared with the view to include them as part of the state’s official response to the Commission’s findings.
“This week, Irish Water, working in partnership with Donegal County Council, has now formally invited public representative to a briefing on a scheme for Gaoth Dobhair which it’s claimed offers a positive solution and will meet the needs of the local community, while also ensuring full compliance of the state’s obligations under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.
“This briefing session is scheduled to take place this Friday 3 March, and I am very much looking forward to being presented with the details of the scheme which is being proposed for the area.
“The company has also informed me that once this session takes place, it plans to begin engaging with the various interest groups in Gaoth Dobhair, before eventually progressing on to commence the next stage which includes wider public consultation of the plans, which it’s envisage will happen in late March.
“Of course I very much welcome news of these developments which aim to further progress the delivery of the scheme, however it is now vital that whatever scheme is chosen will be widely accepted by the community and will satisfy the needs of households and businesses alike, because without such wide spread support then the scheme will not be successful.
“There is little doubt that all these developments of late to progress the scheme have come about as a direct result of the intervention by my colleague Matt Carthy and I through making our submission to the European Commission, it is only unfortunate that it took such drastic measures to finally coax authorities to finally take action.
“I pledge to now continue to monitor these developments and I look forward to working with the local community to ensure that the best possible solution for Goath Dobhair and its people can be delivered.”