Water outages are no stranger to Athlone and in recent weeks the town has experienced water woes on a scale that is now detrimentally impacting local businesses in Athlone.
Spokesperson for Athlone Sinn Féin, Padraig Hegarty, is calling on Irish Water to implement a policy which alerts ratepayers at least five days’ notice in writing about any works which will be carried out in their area so they can plan for such occurrences.
“Irish water seemingly try to shift the blame onto the impacted businesses for not having water storage tanks in place, similar to the ESB apportioning blame to homes for not having a back-up generator. The fact that Irish water turns the blame on businesses and ratepayers is not the solution to this problem. Engagement, information in writing, a notice period for planning is required to keep businesses open,” Padraig commented.
Between Sunday and Monday many businesses reached out to vent their frustrations.
Jayne Emery of Muddy Paws Canine Spa is one such frustrated business owner.
“Irish Water doesn’t seem to care about small businesses and the impact that they have on us,” Jayne remarked.
Peter Campbell of Robs Ranch House also stated that the works were having a profound impact on his restaurant trade. Due to many unannounced outages he was forced to shut down his business early, send staff home and turn away customers
“If this scenario continues, my business which I have worked hard to promote since moving to Athlone, will simply close. There is just no consideration for the extra collateral damage that these outages cause, it paralysed most aspects of business in the area of Sean Costello Street, an often forgotten area of community,” Peter stressed.
Athlone Sinn Féin is calling upon the Council to liaise with Irish Water on this matter swiftly. The businesses are paying ever increasing rates and then, without notice, have to close which in turn has massive ramifications for revenue and loss.
“Why would it be so difficult for Irish water to implement a policy of five days notice period to be issued in writing for all works to the water mains to local businesses. As ratepayers they deserve no less and the local council should back this idea. If we lose businesses, we will have nobody to pay the rates. It’s high time the local authority stuck up for local businesses before they cease to trade,” Padraig concluded.