Deputy Bacik Welcomes Commitment on Water Quality Monitoring
Speaking today, Deputy Ivana Bacik welcomed a commitment from Minister Darragh O’Brien that his Department would introduce year-round water quality testing.
This commitment was made in a response provided by the Minister to Deputy Bacik during Dail debates (Questions on Promised Legislation) on Tuesday 25th October 2022 (transcript below).
The commitment was further confirmed to members of SOS Dublin Bay at a meeting today with Minister Ossian Smyth.
Deputy Bacik said:
“I greatly welcome the commitment provided to me by Minister O’Brien earlier this week. The introduction of year-round water quality monitoring by the State is essential for the health and safety of swimmers and others in the Dublin Bay area. As a regular sea swimmer myself in the South Wall and Seapoint areas in particular, I am personally delighted to know that we will see such an important initiative being taken.
“I have been working with the great local organisation, SOS Dublin Bay, to seek that this would be introduced swiftly, and we have been seeking this for some time now. I understand that at a meeting with SOS Dublin Bay this morning, Minister Smyth confirmed the commitment that he had given me in the Dail on Tuesday. I look forward to working with him and other stakeholders to ensure that year-round water quality monitoring is introduced in our coastal waters – this is an essential initiative to improve the amenities of the Bay area and to protect the health of our swimmers.
“I also ask the Minister to take on board the provisions in my Dublin Bay Bill to ensure improved governance and oversight of Dublin Bay more generally and look forward to introducing this Bill in the Dail, where I hope it will have support from government.”
TRANSCRIPT OF DEBATE FROM QPL TUESDAY 25.10.22 (Available in full at this link: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2022-10-25/4/)
Deputy Ivana Bacik:
I will raise a very serious issue regarding water quality and supply in my constituency of Dublin Bay South. Over the last week, we have had a serious disruption to water supply to households, schools and businesses across Dublin 6 and Dublin 6 west with minimal communication from Irish Water, which is deeply frustrating for residents. In addition, residents in Sandymount and Irishtown have ongoing problems with water quality. I have seen alarming pictures of brown residue in the so-called drinking water coming out of their taps.
Allied to this, along Sandymount strand and as far down as Seapoint in Dún Laoghaire, we are seeing dreadful conditions, with se wage and waste being washed up and with a lack of maintenance and care being taken for public amenities. Will the Taoiseach ensure, through the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, that there is engagement with Irish Water about the quality and continuity of its service? Will the Taoiseach and all of his Government engage with me on the Dublin Bay Bill I have put forward in this House to ensure we have better governance around the environmental monitoring and control of Dublin Bay?
Minsiter for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O’Brien):
I thank Deputy Bacik for raising this issue. Uisce Éireann, or Irish Water, now has an unprecedented capital budget that is on a multi-annual basis. That will include some very important infrastructural upgrades that pertain directly to the Deputy’s area and the quality of water in Dublin Bay, such as the second wastewater treatment plant at Ringsend, which will be fully commiss ioned shortly. Regarding water testing and water quality, the Minister of State, Deputy Noonan, and I have engaged with groups such as SOS Dublin Bay. I do not see any reason the testing of water cannot be done and published on a year-round basis. We are working towards that. We have engaged with the three coastal Dublin local authorities in that space. The Minister of State and I continue to engage and we would like to see that done quite quickly.