SINN Fein Cllr and general election candidate Rachel McCarthy has called on Irish Water to ‘get its act together’ in Bantry.
‘Hardly a week goes by without a break in the water supply in the town, due to the failure of the creaking water pipe network to keep-up with the demands of businesses and residents,’ she said.
Adding to the frustrations of locals, she criticised the company for ‘poor communication’ relating to the announcement of outages before planned works on the water network take place.
‘For far too long, the water supply network in and around Bantry has been left to crumble. Estates like Reenrour East have footpaths and roads that resemble a lunar landscape, with plans for substantial resurfacing left gathering dust on a shelf until water pipes have been replaced first,’ she said.
Plans have been made by Cork County Council, in conjunction with Irish Water, to address this serious issue, and 4km of pipework is due to be repaired under the Cork Countywide Advance Priority Watermain Rehabilitation Project.
‘While a proposed start to this work in recent weeks at Chapel Street was greeted with relief in the town, tensions soon returned when Irish Water failed to communicate when the works were actually going to commence, leaving businesses and homes high and dry, and without warning,’ she added.
Cllr McCarthy’s party colleague Cllr Paul Hayes also raised the issue at last Monday’s West Cork Municipal District meeting in Skibbereen when he said: ‘It is unforgivable in this age of endless communication options that residents, café, restaurant and bar owners were not informed of the planned works at Chapel Street.
‘There is a very organised business association in Bantry who could have easily passed on any message from Irish Water to their members to make them aware of the works commencing, but that did not happen,’ he pointed out.
‘Local media outlets were not informed and neither were elected reps, who could’ve got the word out to locals on social media or by phone or email.’
Cllr Rachel McCarthy has accused Irish Water of stumbling from crisis to crisis. She said: ‘They have not exactly covered themselves with glory in Bantry or my own native Bandon for that matter. ‘My party believes that water services should be returned to the full control of properly-funded local authorities, and Irish Water should be scrapped.’