Septic tank scheme welcomed by Laois/Offaly opposition TDs

The announcement of a grant scheme for homeowners whose sepic tanks need replacement or upgrade has been welcomed by local opposition TDs.

The announcement of a grant scheme for homeowners whose sepic tanks need replacement or upgrade has been welcomed by local opposition TDs.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen has welcomed the announcement describing it as a ‘small step in the right direction’. Deputy Cowen said it is now important that the National Inspection Plan be published as soon as possible.

“It will come as a relief to the nearly half a million septic tank owners across the country that Minister Hogan has finally realised that his legislation was unfair. I am glad that he has now caved into pressure and agreed to provide a grant to help with some of the cost of upgrades. While this is a step in the right direction, it is disappointing that the Minister has capped the grant at EUR4,000.

“The Minister must now ensure that the National Inspection Plan, prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency, is published as soon as possible. This includes details of where the inspections will be and what standards will apply. Until this is published, there will remain a great deal of uncertainty among sceptic tank owners about how they will be affected by Minister Hogan’s legislation.”

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD has today welcomed Minister Hogan’s partial grant scheme for septic tanks. However Deputy Stanley said the grant should cover the full remedial works to achieve maximum benefit.

He said, “I am happy that Minster Hogan has finally taken on board our suggestion to make funds available to assist in the upgrading of domestic septic tanks.

“Sinn Féin has been consistent over the past 18 months in demanding full financial assistance for households. Minister Hogan’s offer of 80% for those on incomes up to €50,000 and 50% on incomes over €50,000 will certainly alleviate some of the hardship but not all of it.

“Sinn Féin supports improving the quality of water, but rural households should not be penalised for Fianna Fail’s failure to implement EU directives on clean ground water.

“We also welcome the increasing of the grant to Group Sewerage Schemes. These grants are increased from €2,031.58 to €6,500 per house or 75% of the cost of the scheme, whichever is the lesser.

“Both announcements will bring much needed jobs to many rural communities and improve water quality and public health in rural areas. To ensure maximum gain and a permanent positive legacy the Minister must go the extra mile and provide full financial assistance to cover all remedial work.”