Irish Water must address concerns

A local councillor has fumed at delays in getting houses in rural areas connected to the public water supply, especially in areas affected by severe mineral issues.

Independent Shane P. O’Reilly said there were “clusters” of homes in the Munterconnaught and Cross areas awaiting connection to public supply, only a meagre distance away, but were unable to make any headway in convincing Irish Water to install the linkage.

Arguing that a “plan of connection” was needed, he said there were people in homes who were “quite willing” to contribute to the cost.

However, whenever he attempted to make representations on their behalf, he found himself funnelled to an “anonymous call centre”.

This brought Cllr O’Reilly onto his second gripe - the level of communication and quality of customer service provided by Irish Water.

When he attempted to assist persons threatened with disconnection, Cllr O’Reilly said he called the helpline “11 times” to explain the reported leak had been “sorted”, but for the person on the other end of the line - “not Irish” - to maintain an unhelpful position.

“This was never a problem under the council,” said Cllr O’Reilly, who recalled another incident that took 27 days to be remedied because the local engineer could do nothing “until it went on their system”.

“I don’t know where the call centre is but it’s not Ireland,” continued Cllr O’Reilly, only for Cathaoirleach Clifford Kelly to point out it is located in “Cork”.

Fine Gael’s TP O’Reilly agreed, saying: “With all the best will in the world, getting through to Irish Water is a nightmare.”

He cited a case where one household was quoted €4,500 to be connected, while Fianna Fail’s Clifford Kelly could recall a “small shop” being charged €6,000 for connection.

Cllr Kelly was further angered by claims that, for €25,000 more, Irish Water could have installed equipment to soften the water in Kingscourt at a time when the new €3 million water plant was being built. He said problems with lime in the water are costing citizens a “small fortune”, and proposed that representatives from Irish Water attend a further meeting to address in person concerns held by elected members. The proposal was seconded by Cllr TP O’Reilly (FG).

Sinn Féin’s Paddy McDonald described it as a “sad day” when control of water services was ceded by the council to Irish Water.


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