Town breathes easy at €6.5m sewage treatment plan

Clonakilty’s sewerage system is overloaded, due in part to major housing development in the town during the Celtic Tiger. For several years, particularly during the summer, there have been numerous complaints about the smell in the town, which has caused considerable concern to the tourism industry.

There was widespread relief at a meeting of Cork County Council’s western committee, which was held in the town yesterday, when it was announced that the Government had given the upgrading project the green light. Katherine Walshe, the council’s director of services, said she hoped work would commence on the project within the next month and should be completed in 12-14 months. There will be disruption on the streets during that period and council officials said they would keep the public fully informed. Fianna Fáil councillor Christopher O’Sullivan, tourism chairman of Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, said sanctioning the project “was a huge, positive development for the town”. Fine Gael councillor Noel O’Donovan agreed, referring to media headlines in recent years which pointed to the summertime stink.

“Thankfully the Government has listened to the cries of Clonakilty and hopefully we will never see headlines like that again,” he said. Fine Gael councillor John O’Sullivan said that, in the four years he had been on the council, the upgrade had been fought for. “I’m delighted that this is now happening. It’s great news for the town,” he said. However, other places in West Cork which are very dependent on tourism have not been so lucky. Fianna Fáil councillor Danny Crowley said it was time Castletownbere and Glengarriff had proper sewage treatment systems. “A huge amount has been spent on developing the inner harbour [in Castletownbere], but the toxins keep coming back in,” he said. “Somebody needs to put a stop on this now.” Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Murphy echoed Mr Crowley’s concerns, saying the towns depended on tourism and need to be given priority. “A proper sewerage scheme was first mooted 40 years ago in Castletownbere,” said Fine Gael councillor Jerry O’Sullivan. “Also, there’s a €6m water upgrade needed for the town and that’s taking far too long as well.” Council engineers said the best-case scenario for developing a sewage treatment scheme for Castletownbere was at least three years away.  Source: Irish Examiner