COUNCILLORS were furious when they were told that Irish Water would have to be involved in any introduction of public water stations and drinking fountains throughout the county.
And they are also unhappy that plastic cups are still at water stations outside the chamber despite a call to ban them.
They were told that the local authority would be required to apply to Irish Water for a commercial metered connection point and that a report would be issued by next January.
This prompted Cllr Aidan Lombard (FG) to say, with some exasperation, that it should be as simple as getting a plumber for €200 and installing an outside tap.
‘I don’t understand why are we talking about connections from Irish Water. Cork County Council owns buildings in all our towns and surely we can put in a water connector there,’ said Cllr Lombard.
‘We’re looking at putting in a tap on the side of some of our public buildings. Let’s not get carried away here, I mean you get a plumber for €200 and you get an outside tap and now we’re talking about a report being issued in 2020! Come on!’ he said.
Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan (FF) had raised a motion asking that the Council investigate the possibility of introducing water stations while Cllr Liam Quaide’s (GP) motion called for the installation of drinking fountains in public parks.
Cllr Marcia D’Alton agreed with Cllr Lombard and said it was ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill.’
‘This is really simple idea and if we have this attitude about such simple things we’re wasting our time,’ said Cllr D’Alton.
Glanmire-based Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan said the report itself was ‘a bit disappointing.’
‘The reason I tabled the motion was because while in Co Mayo recently I saw that these water stations were present in a number of towns. There are also present in Dublin. I’d like to think we could get a report back before January 2020. Six months is a bit ridiculous and we do need to go about our work a bit more efficiently. Why not speak to the other Councils on how they implemented their water stations?’
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said it made perfect sense and described the report as ‘negative.’
‘Other local authorities have done this so why can’t we? And there should be no reason why we should have to wait four to five months for a report. It’s very straightforward,’ said Cllr McGrath.
Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley (Ind) said there was no issue with taps before and ‘we should go back to using glass as opposed to plastic bottles.’
Cllr Gobnait Moyhinan (FF) said it was a simple idea that would go a long way for villages and towns.
County mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) noted plastic cups were still at water stations outside the chamber despite a call to ban them.
Acting chief executive Declan Daly said the executive is supportive of measures to help reduce plastic and said he would ask the report scheduled for January 2020 be expedited and looked at in more detail and that the Council will seek the advice of neighbouring local authorities on the matter. ‘Irrespective of whether it’s private contractors or public operatives put these in place, there are costs associated and we are obliged to get connections from Irish Water. We will look at priority areas and hopefully we will be back with a report well short of January 2020,’ he said.
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