Ennis Chamber met with Irish Water on Friday, June 15, to address key issues including water infrastructure development and significant challenges that lie ahead.
Earlier this year Ennis Chamber Policy Group held a workshop for those involved in local construction and allied professional services. The group identified a series of challenges that could potentially hamper construction and therefore projected growth in population for Ennis Municipal District to 50,000, by 2040. A key issue the group sought clarity on was water, and more specifically wastewater capacity for the town and its environs.
With support from Chambers Ireland, Ennis Chamber communicated the challenges and issues they identified, directly to Irish Water. In response, a delegation from Irish Water including Duane O’Brien, Asset Operations Water Lead; Maurice Hourigan, Asset Operations Wastewater Lead; Alan Morrissey, Networks Programme Regional Lead; Brian Day, Connections and Developer Services and Colm Ward, Regional Communications came to Ennis on Friday June 15, to present an overview of work done to date by Irish Water and to answer questions.
The senior delegation gave an overview of work already carried out by Irish Water and to explain what’s in the pipeline. They also took the time to address the specific issues communicated to them in advance of the meeting and provided frank and open answers during a lively Q&A session.
Diarmuid McMahon, president Ennis Chamber was very pleased with the meeting, which was well attended by representatives of the local construction industry. He observed, “To grow Ennis successfully, you must have a functioning construction sector and an appetite to develop. Now is the time to ensure that Ennis has the infrastructure in place to accommodate anticipated growth.”
He continued, “While many of our original concerns were assuaged, the area that concerns Ennis Chamber most is wastewater capacity, particularly at the Clare Abbey treatment plant. The representatives of Irish water assured us that if a large-scale business was to show an interest in locating to Ennis that Irish Water could and would respond positively by increasing capacity to meet such needs within a reasonable timeframe.”
A positive outcome from Friday’s meeting, according to McMahon was the growing confidence evident in the room, in Irish Water. “When you examine the facts and figures, what Irish Water has achieved to date and what it has planned for the future, you appreciate the need for a standalone water entity for Ireland. Our members were impressed by the Irish Water delegation’s openness, willingness to listen and the fact that they didn’t dodge hard questions.
“We await follow up regarding some issues, but overall, we felt the meeting was very positive and are hopeful that it marks the start of an ongoing pro-active relationship between Ennis Chamber and Irish Water.”
From Irish Water’s perspective, Colm Ward said, “This briefing was a fantastic opportunity to update Ennis Chamber on the investment in water services at a national and local level in Ennis and County Clare. It also gave us an opportunity to connect with businesses to inform them of improvements to service and supply and the proposed regulatory changes in the sector.”