Schull left high and dry as Irish Water ‘unfit for purpose’

August 16th, 2020 11:50 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Irish Water’s plans for pipes are holding up road works in the Schull area, Cllr Collins said.

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AT the height of the tourist season, water is being turned off in Schull at different times of the day.

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) highlighted the issue when a motion calling for an immediate review of the funding model of Irish Water was raised at a meeting of the local authority recently.

Cllr Collins said he knows of different infrastructure works that were due to start in Bantry but have been delayed because of Irish Water.

‘We have a road out of Bantry town on the main N71 that’s not fit for purpose and the reason it’s not being done is because piping is to be done, but nothing has been done,’ said Cllr Collins.

‘Back in Schull now at the height of summer season the water is being shut off there at certain times of the day in some parts of the area. We’re in 2020 not in the mid-1940s! They should be brought in here and be held accountable,’ said Cllr Collins.

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said the motion could come from any municipal district in Ireland and said Irish Water is ‘not fit for purpose’.

‘We have a housing crisis in this country and Irish Water are one of the main stumbling blocks in stopping this country getting out of this crisis and they’re not stepping up to the plate,’ said Cllr Carroll.

‘There are too many applications for housing estates in villages and towns being held up all because there is no waste water  system and it’s high time Cork County Council get a bit stronger with the utility.’ Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said as well as looking at the funding model, they also should ask for a review of the governance model of Irish Water.

‘We’ve no accountability from Irish Water and I can’t find financial statements for 2019 and we’re left asking the question – is the governance model fit for purpose?’ she asked.

‘We have no idea as to its future plans and as a local authority we have no input into this,’ said Cllr Coughlan.

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) said there have been huge accountability issues with the water utility from the outset and he said he is proud to have opposed the introduction of water charges.

‘Instead of fixing leaking water pipes, hundreds of millions of euro were spent on water meters which are now obsolete. Bonuses were flying into the accounts of Irish Water officials while raw sewage was flowing into our water courses. It’s absolute madness,’ said Cllr Hayes.

He agreed with other councillors that water services should be brought back under the control of the local authorities again.

‘At least the left hand knew what the right hand was doing. In Clonakilty, for example, we were looking towards Curralicky Lake in Dunmanway to improve the water supply to the town which is at breaking point but the latest information is that we will have to look to Bandon now for the water.’

Councillors agreed to write to An Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing on the issue.

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