Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West, Éamon Ó Cuív, says the Septic Tank Grant Scheme is not addressing the issues in relation to sub-standard waste water systems attached to one-off houses in rural Ireland.

Deputy Ó Cuív said, “The reality is that virtually no money is spent by the State in assisting those who have to provide their own waste water systems in rural Ireland, while quite rightly, large sums of money are spent on ensuring good waste water systems in towns and cities and contiguous areas.

“When former Minister Phil Hogan introduced the septic tank charge and registration he promised the people of rural Ireland a grant scheme to assist in bringing waste water systems that were deficient up to standard.

“However, very few people have benefitted from the scheme. Figures made available to me revealed the annual grant paid out on the scheme, since it was introduced in 2014 for County Galway was only about €23,000 per annum and in County Mayo, €25,000.

“There are a number of features within the scheme that need to be changed. If the Local Authority decide to inspect your septic tank then you can apply for the scheme, leaving many households unable to apply to the scheme. There is a means test for the scheme, which does not apply to the provision of municipal waste water systems which are applied to all citizens equally. Lastly, anyone who did not register in 2014, and registered anytime in the last six years, are not eligible for the scheme.

“Like a lot of schemes set up by the government, it would seem that this scheme was designed not to pay out money and is in place to give the impression that something was being done for rural Ireland.

“In a reply to me in April 2019, the Minister said that the scheme was now being revised. Six months later, when I asked him whether this revision had taken place, he said that “Work is at an advanced stage of development of the new scheme referred to by the Deputy”. The Minister has given no indication as to what changes will take place in the scheme and based on performance in relation to previous revisions, it could still be some time before the revised scheme is published.

“I will continue to pursue this matter and to pursue justice for people living in rural Ireland in terms of services,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.