Irish Water needs to be ‘brought to task’

A section of the large attendance for the public information meeting, organised by Longford Fianna F�il, on the introduction of water charges last Thursday in the Longford Arms Hotel. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Longford area representatives called for new measures to take Irish Water to task at last week’s meeting of the Longford Municipal district.

Longford area representatives called for new measures to take Irish Water to task at last week’s meeting of the Longford Municipal district.

During a heated debate at last week’s meeting of Longford Municipal District, elected representatives pointed out that they were unable to contact the new public body, and therefore not in a position to raise matters of concern on behalf of their constituents.

“It is former representatives of Longford Co Council that are administrating Irish Water locally,” said Cllr Mae Sexton (Ind).

“As public representatives, we are getting nowhere with them [Irish Water] when we contact them ourselves.”

Cllr Sexton then went on to tell the meeting that she had not yet received her information back from the new body and when she made contact with a representative, was told that she would not be getting one because she was not listed!

“Can we set up some kind of a task force locally so that contact can be made with someone in Irish Water?,” she asked.

Longford Town Manager, Frank Sheridan said there was no system in place at the moment to “communicate with Irish Water”.

“There was such goodwill between council staff and public representatives in the past and if Irish Water had recognised this, they might not be in the trouble they are in today,” Cllr Sexton added.

Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) then pointed out that those answering the phones at Irish Water were not even qualified in the area.

“They just take the information and pass it on to a third party who then makes contact with engineers in Longford who will deal with the problem locally,” he added.

“It is absolutely ludicrous - you would think they [State] would have learned from the Health Service Executive (HSE).”

Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) then proposed that Longford Municipal District contact other local authorities to seek support for Cllr Butler’s proposal at the end of the discussion to establish a local liaison water officer for each county.

It was agreed to place the proposal for recommendation on the agenda for the next meeting and take the matter from there.