Councillors demand more from Irish Water

Councillors demand more from Irish Water
Irish Water has come under fire for not providing a dedicated emergency number for local politicians to ring when breakdowns occur.

Irish Water has come under fire for not providing a dedicated emergency number for local politicians to ring when breakdowns occur.

The anomaly arose on foot of a letter from its managing director John Tierney to Longford County Council.

In his correspondence, Mr Tierney spelled out the plans the Bord Gais subsidiary had in terms of working more closely with local authorities.

But, as Cllr Seamus Butler poined out, a number of teething problems with the state’s public water utility company still exist.

“I have had experience over the last couple of months when you have a query about a local problem you have to phone a call centre in Cork.”

Cllr Butler said regardless of the distance involved, it was the lack of suitably experienced engineers at the other end of the line which was most frustrating.

“When you ring up, you don’t get to talk to a person who is qualified. Instead, you have to talk to a person who is trained to take calls.

“This is a relatively new organisation and if it is set up like that, I think as local representatives we are simply wasting our time,” he said.

Another sore point, he added, was the fact because of a service level agreement now in place with Irish Water, all questions however pertinent had to go to Cork.

This, in spite of the fact there were personnel at a local level already in place to respond to such issues.

Fine Gael Cllr Gerald Farrell urged the council’s executive to impress upon the need for a Longford based representative from Irish Water to be put in place.

His party colleague, Cllr Peggy Nolan gave an almost identical appraisal, saying councillors required a greater level of service than they have previously been experiencing.

“We were supposed to get that (specialised) number, but we have the same number that the general public have,” she said.

“This is something that should have been factored in and nothing less will suffice.”

Cathaoirleach and Independent Cllr Mark Casey agreed as he too hit out at the delays some faults were taking.

“I used email to no effect. And I have called the hotline two months ago about a safety issue and it is still a safety issue,” he claimed.