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The only improvement to Irish Water was axing of its ‘toxic’ name says Cllr

February 27th, 2024 7:30 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The only improvement to Irish Water was axing of its ‘toxic’ name says Cllr Image

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Proposal to ‘scrap’ Uisce Eireann gets wide support from Council members

A WEST Cork councillor who has called for the scrapping of Uisce Éireann and the return of water services to all local authorities said the utility company ‘has gone beyond a joke.’

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) proposed the scrapping of the company formerly known as Irish Water, told a recent meeting of the local authority that communication has always been a problem with it.

‘When I was county mayor last year we met with Uisce Éireann officials. We all had concerns about the way we were being treated and the state of water services. We were told things would improve, but they haven’t,’ said Cllr Collins.

He said that the staff on the ground are equally frustrated. He gave an example of reporting a burst pipe on a rural road near Bantry just before Christmas. ‘I was told it would be on a list to be done, but when I spoke to one of our local lads on the ground he said he didn’t receive any notification about it. He got it sorted, in fairness, but there is no one in charge and Uisce Éireann has gone beyond a joke.’

Cllr Cathal Rasmussen (Lab) seconded the motion and said the state of the roads after Uisce Eireann leave them is a cause of concern.

Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) criticised what he called the undermining of the powers of local government during his 16 years as a councillor.

‘Our engineers are spending half their time filling out application forms to go up to nameless faces in Dublin, who then arbitrarily allocate money to projects on the ground. And we know far better where we should spend that money,’ said Cllr Murphy. ‘It’s getting highly frustrating – you are being sent from pillar to post and you end up getting tired and throwing in the towel, become so frustrated trying to get an answer.’

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) said he doesn’t see things improving and said it was one of the reasons that he is stepping down as a councillor.

‘They dropped the toxic name of Irish Water but nothing else has changed,’ said Cllr Hayes.

Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) said if Uisce Éireann could just get a grasp on communication it would be great, while Cllr Sinead Sheppard (FG) agreed that the communication is an ‘absolute disgrace.’

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) agreed with the sentiments, but said the establishment of Uisce Éireann cost a fortune and to abolish it would cost another fortune.

Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) said Uisce Éireann are completely ‘out of touch’ and highlighted a recent incident in Bandon where a burst watermain needed to be repaired.

‘The contractor who put in the mains wasn’t allowed to repair it so, they had to wait for Uisce Éireann to come down, and businesses had to close because they had no water,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.

Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) agreed about the undermining of the powers of local government and pointed out that when the ‘proverbial’ hits the fan, Cork County Council gets it ‘in the head’.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said they are dealing with a ‘faceless utility company’ and that Dunmanway is being virtually ‘sterilised’ for the next 10 years for development as they can’t build new houses or extend commercial premises.

‘It’s like peeling an onion on a daily basis, trying to get through to Uisce Éireann, complete with the tears and all that go with it,’ said Cllr Hurley.

Cllr Collins said that Cork County Council isn’t the only local authority to send letters to the appropriate government departments, as he has been talking to other councillors nationwide.

It’s ‘better to ruffle some feathers’ about this issue, he said.

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