Harte wrong on FF amendments to Septic Tank Bill – Ó Domhnaill

Published on: 24 November 2011

Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has accused Labour Senator Jimmy Harte of either deliberately trying to mislead the public on Fianna Fáil’s amendments to the Government’s bill bringing in a charge and upgrade costs on households with septic tanks or being completely out of touch with the Seanad debate on the legislation.

Senator Ó Domhnaill, Fianna Fáil’s Agriculture Spokesperson in the Seanad, said: “Despite the misleading assertion of Senator Harte our amendment would give an exemption to County Cavan. Cavan is the only county in Ireland complying with the European directive and Cavan has in place a system with no registration fee and only selective inspections without the criminal charges being proposed by the Government. Our amendment had nothing whatsoever to do with a bringing in any charges on any households within the state.

“As such Fianna Fáil is proposing an amendment to the legislation as follows: “Each water services authority shall establish and maintain a register of domestic waste water treatment system situation within its functional area, apart from county Cavan.”

“Senator Harte should familiarise himself with the legislation that is being debated in the Seanad. By not accepting the Fianna Fáil amendment people in Cavan will be forced to pay a registration fee. It is clear now that the Government’s legislation has nothing to do with the European Court ruling it is simply about imposing stealth taxes through the back door. Despite almost eight hours of debate in the Seanad we still don’t know what criteria will be used for the maintenance and servicing of septic tanks.”

Among the Fianna Fáil amendments to the Water Services (Amendment) Bill are:

One free- desludging for septic tank annually

No registration fees

No appeal fees

Grants of at least 85% to meet any upgrade costs

Not having criminal action placed against septic tank owners

Senator Ó Domhnaill said: “Fine Gael and Labour have rejected all of these proposals. It is clear that the Government’s agenda here is to place massive upgrade costs on householders and criminalise people for non-compliance.

“At this stage I would ask Senator Harte and all Senators to read the Fianna Fáil amendments. There are constructive proposals here that are simply being ignored and I would urge the Government Senators to think again.”

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