Plans to build reservoir delayed by bat colony

Plans to build reservoir delayed by bat colony

Plans to build a new reservoir to supply a drought-stricken village have been delayed by up to 18 months because of a colony of bats.

The delay has prompted one county councillor to suggest shooting the bats to solve the problem.

People living in the North Cork village of Kildorrery have suffered from water outages on numerous occasions during the last couple of years.

Families have regularly had to travel several miles to take showers in relative's homes; businesses have had to bring in churns of water and farmers have had to tanker in supplies for their cattle.

Plans to fix the problem have already faced significant delays in recent years as the County Council awaited approval from Irish Water.

The problem was two-fold. Ageing water mains were constantly breaking and the old reservoir didn't have the capacity required to supply the area.

However, significant replacement work has been carried out on the mains and plans are in place to build a new reservoir. County Councillors finally thought the end was in sight until they got some shocking news from their county engineer.

A meeting of the council's Northern Division in Mallow heard county engineer, Kevin Morey, state that planning permission has been acquired to demolish the old reservoir and build a new one on the same site.

However, Mr Morey added that part of the planning condition is that bats roosting at the reservoir can't be disturbed during their breeding season. He said the condition states that demolition works could only be carried out on the site in the off-breeding season, which was from September to February.

Because the council wouldn't be able to complete the work this year, Mr Morey said it will be either winter of next year or spring of 2020 that construction work could get underway.

Cllrs Noel McCarthy and Frank O'Flynn said the delay is totally unacceptable. Division chairman, Cllr Bernard Moynihan added: "So bats are holding up the whole thing. Bats are now more important than the people."

Cllr Timmy Collins was also angered by the news: "We should shoot all the bats and get rid of them."

Cllr Timmy Collins
Cllr Timmy Collins

Cllr O'Flynn said in all his years as a public representative he has never heard of bats roosting in the area. Mr Morey said the Council has no choice in the matter as it is a condition in the planning permission that bats are not disturbed during their breeding season.

Both Cllrs McCarthy and O'Flynn said the people of Kildorrery have suffered too long and this news will really upset them.

Council engineers maintain that the water supply system to the village has improved since they replaced several kilometres of mains. While councillors accepted this they said it won't be 'up to scratch' until the new reservoir is built.

Meanwhile, Cllr Collins described another water scheme in North Cork as " a disaster."

He said that while he appreciates there was a significant drought during the summer, supply problems are still an issue even in recent weeks in Freemount.

Engineers said they have carried out some remedial works in the village, but groundwater supplies have fallen perilously low.

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