Cllr Mary Sweeney has welcomed the news that Laois is to be one of the first counties to have septic tank inspections.
Figures published recently showed that more than 1,000 tanks are at risk in Laois especially at homes near the Rivers Barrow, Owenass and Triogue. It is reported that nearly 40 per cent of rivers are polluted.
“I welcome it. It is job security for the water section (of Laois County Council), but I do agree that financial help is needed,” she said at last week’s Portlaoise area meeting.
In a reply to councillors, Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan TD had said that the need for septic tank grants will be kept under review, for homeowners whose tanks require substantial upgrading.
“The need for any such support will only become clearer when inspections are being carried out,” his reply said.
Cllr Willie Aird said many people in rural areas will need financial help.
“They are horrified with regard to the cost to them. The standards of thirty years ago are not the same as today. If they have to improve them, fair enough, water quality has to be a priority, but they can’t do it out of a weekly budget that is already under financial strain,” he said.
Cllr Aird suggested that money could come from the household tax.
“What the household tax is for has never been spelled out, it could be spent on councillors expenses. That money should be ringfenced for the people,” he said.
“People are still afraid to register,” added Cllr Kathleen O’Brien.
“They need assurance that a grant will be available. The fear is there, if they have to replace it they don’t have the money,” she said.