O’Flaherty and Walsh condemn ‘utter confusion’ over Old Mervue water crisis

There is “utter confusion” regarding the upgrade of the water distribution system in Old Mervue and a recent letter from City Hall to local residents has only confused matters further.

This is the view of Independent councillor Terry O’Flaherty and Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh, who held an emergency meeting yesterday with City Hall officials to deal with the issue.

The Galway City Council is putting in a new cast iron pipe system throughout the estates of Old Mervue. However this will result in two pipe systems in the area - the old lead pipe system which is contaminating the water and the new cast iron system which will deliver clean water.

In order to get clean water into the houses, each house will have to be individually connected to the cast iron pipe system. Such work is expensive and despite requests the Department of the Environment said it will not be in a position to fund such work.

However the city council has €12 million set aside for water conservation initiatives. Cllr Walsh has suggested to the director of services Ciarán Hayes that part of this money be used to set up a grant scheme to help families in Old Mervue connect to the new system.

Mr Hayes has written to the Department of the Environment seeking approval for such a scheme and is awaiting a response.

However, according to the two councillors, City Hall issued letters to Old Mervue residents last week inviting them to seek costings for connection from the stop cock to the kitchen sink in each house.

Cllr Walsh has described the letter as “premature” as the council is still waiting on a reply from the Department of Environment regarding a water conservation money request.

Cllr O’Flaherty said now is “a very stressful time for residents”. She added: “In my opinion the residents should not be asked to pay as this problem is no fault of theirs.”

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