The European Commission has confirmed it is taking Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU over the country’s failure to satisfy the provisions of the urban wastewater directive in respect of 38 settlements.
The Commission announced infringement proceedings in September 2013, followed by warnings in 2015 and 2016. The country has been under a cloud over lack of sewage treatment infrastructure for well over a decade and has consistently failed to meet deadlines for providing new or upgraded facilities.
Originally Ireland had until the end of 2000 to ensure any urban area with more than 15,000 people had adequate sewerage systems and until the end of 2005 to stop discharges from medium-sized towns into rivers, lakes and estuaries.
“One of the main challenges Ireland faces is maintaining the important investments required for water services, given the urgent need to invest in water infrastructure,” the commission noted.
Brussels is also contesting the operating licence that has been issued for treatment plants serving Arklow and Castlebridge.
The urban areas with inadequate infrastructure were named as: Arklow, Athlone, Ballybofey/Stranorlar, Ballincollig New, Castlecomer, Cavan, Clifden, Clonakily, Cobh, Cork City, Dundalk, Enfield, Enniscorthy, Fermoy, Gaoth Dobhair, Killarney, Killybegs, Longford, Mallow, Midleton, Monksland, Navan, Nenagh, Oberstown, Pasage/Monktown, Portarlington, Rathcormac, Ringaskiddy, Ringsend, Roscommon Town, Roscrea, Shannon Town, Thurles, Tralee, Tubbercurry, Youghal and Waterford City.