Fresh calls for independent inquiry into Shannon pipeline project

Opponents have denied the issue is a case of “Dubliners versus the Culchies”

Fresh calls for independent inquiry into Shannon pipeline project

A file illustration shows water from the tap running into a glass in Berlin, Germany | Image: Jochen Eckel/DPA/PA Images

There are fresh calls for an independent review into the proposed Shannon pipeline this evening.

Sinn Fein has proposed the idea as campaigners say 500 farms would be impacted by the 170km pipe.

If given the go ahead, the project will cost €1.3bn and will supply water from the River Shannon to the Greater Dublin Area.

Consultant Emma Kennedy from Kennedy Analysis has compiled a report on the project on of environmental groups objecting to the plan.

She said the money would be better spent elsewhere.

“I am sure that most people don’t take a ‘not in my back yard’ position,” she said.

“If this project was needed I think there are very few people across the country who would challenge it.

“But when you are being told that your farm is going to be cut up for a project that is quite simply not needed, it is a different matter.”

Capital capacity

Irish Water has insisted that the project is necessary because the capital is almost entirely reliant on the River Liffey - which is close to capacity.

It said the pipeline would supply 40% of the population by 2025.

Opponents have warned that the proposal is a waste of money and the priority should be on fixing faulty pipes.

Irish Water has admitted that 761 million litres of drinking water are lost every day due to faulty infrastructure.

The utility says the amount of time and disruption involved in fixing the leaks means they can only target small percentages at a time.


However, Ms Kennedy has claimed that Irish Water is presenting “a misleading story” when it comes to its efforts to fix leaks in the capital.

She said the utility is currently aiming to replace just 1% of pipes in Dublin every year moving forward – and claims that target is ambitious.

In her report she notes that other cities like Lisbon and London have seen huge reductions in leakage in relatively short time periods.

The pipe will be two metres wide and 170km long.

“Dubliners versus the Culchies”

Limerick city councillor John Gilligan said the project would be bad for the taxpayer and for the environment.

He rejected claims that the issue is a case of “Dubliners versus the Culchies.”

“One of the things that Irish Water has been doing - and I know because I have heard it filtered back down – is ‘that is the culchies again; they are all against Dublin; they are all against us,’” he said.

“That has got to be nailed on the head.

“It is not rural against Dublin city. It is somebody proposing a Frankenstein of a monster that is going to run through the country at huge carbon footprint and not going to solve the problem.”

 Some 47% of Ireland’s treated water is lost through leaking pipes, following decades of underinvestment.

Irish Water aims to save around 166 million litres of water per day through its leakage reduction programme over the next four years.

The plan would see leakage around the reduced to 385 by the end of 2021.