Irish Water blasted over road fiasco

A view of the main Killoe to Ballinalee road this week. Photo: Shelley Corcoran

A view of the main Killoe to Ballinalee road this week. Photo: Shelley Corcoran

Irish Water is coming under increasing pressure to upgrade a water mains along a busy Longford road which has reportedly sustained over a dozen breakdowns in the past 12 months.

Local residents living along a stretch of the main Longford to Ballinalee road say they are sick and tired of a problem which dates back years.

A number of those who the Leader spoke to this week were reluctant to speak publicly on the controversy but said water bursts and interruptions have become an almost weekly occurrence of late.

“There were times when it used to be off every ten days or so,” said one local business owner, as she looked out on main road.

The Longford businesswoman, who requires running water for her day to day business needs, recalled an incident which nearly wiped out her operation overnight.

“Around four or five years ago, there was a burst and the water came right up to the front door here,” she said, pointing down to the gravelled forecourt.

She was, however, not alone when it came to raising criticism at the current impasse.

A local farmer who likewise asked for his name not to be published, also hit out.

“This has been going on I’d say for seven years or so,” he said.

“I am trying to milk cows here and my water bills would cost around €3,000 a year. It’s just a nuisance.”

“This should have been done during the boom when the money was there,” he said.

Local councillors have been quick to speak out on the issue.

Cllr Pauric Brady and Micheal Carrigy (FG) addressed the controversy at last week’s meeting of Granard Municipal District.

Both councillors highlighted the plight still being felt by residents along what is readily viewed as one of Longford’s busiest roadways.

“It’s a major, major problem,” admitted Cllr Brady.

In reply, Director of Services Jack Kilgallon said he was especially conscious of the difficulties faced by locals.

However, he insisted the onus on remedying the situation lay not with the council, but rather Irish Water.

“I am aware of the problems but unfortunately I don’t know what the answer is because this is an Irish Water issue,” he said.

Mr Kilgallon explained that despite the council carrying out recent improvements along the road, problems would likely remain until Irish Water upheld their side of the bargain.

“Any burst on that road, we (council) will repair the road to a proper standard,” he said.

“Irish Water will be saddled with that cost so that might focus minds. So far though, we haven’t managed to get any indication from them as to when the water mains will be replaced.”




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