Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins has said his party will continue to strongly oppose the Government’s Septic Tank Bill in its current form, when the proposed legislation returns to the Dáil this week.
Fianna Fáil has proposed 75 amendments to the Bill, which include scrapping the septic tank registration fee and appeals fees, offering homeowners an 85% retrofit grant scheme for any upgrade works required and providing septic tank owners with one free de-sludging per year before the Bill comes into effect. These amendments have been debated in the Seanad and will be put forward again in the Dáil tomorrow (Wednesday, 30 November 2011)
Deputy Collins commented, “Fianna Fáil remains vehemently opposed to the multiple charges facing homeowners in Minister Phil Hogan’s Septic Tank Bill. While we recognise the need to adhere to the European Court of Justice ruling, Fianna Fáil firmly believes that the entire cost of the registration and upgrade process cannot be pushed directly onto homeowners.
“In our view, this legislation amounts to an attack on rural dwellers, who are facing enormous bills under Minister Hogan’s legislation simply because they do not have access to heavily subsidised sewerage schemes. Fianna Fáil has put forward a number of proposals to introduce a much fairer system of registering and upgrading septic tanks in this country, without hitting householders with huge bills.
“During a debate on these proposals in the Seanad, Minister Hogan agreed to cut the appeals fee from €200 to €20. While any reduction in fees is welcome, this is still a discriminatory charge imposed only on homeowners who do not have access to sewerage schemes. This fee is in addition to potentially huge bills for major upgrade works ordered by the inspectors. Fianna Fáil believes there needs to be a grant system to help cover these costs.
Deputy Collins concluded, “I am urging the Fine Gael and Labour TDs to facilitate a democratic debate on these proposals in the Dáil this week.”