Galway householders should not be expected to pay any Irish Water bills when the "outrageous" situation persists of water supplies being contaminated due to lead piping, and when the controversial company itself is refusing to "step up and perform tests" in at risk areas.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who is calling on Irish Water to scrap plans to install water meters in Galway - due to start in the Knocknacarra area in the coming weeks - and instead use the money set aside for meter installation to replace lead pipes and other faulty infrastructure.
Homes most at risk are those which were built before 1970. The replacement of lead pipes is not part of the 'first fix programme', where Irish Water will repair leaks to pipes outside the hall door, but within the property. Sinn Féin is currently having independent tests done to assess the level of danger in some areas.
“It is outrageous that many houses in Galway will have water meters installed without these pipes being replaced," said Sen Ó Clochartaigh. “Irish Water and the Galway City Council need to step up and indicate where residents might be at risk. Irish Water is refusing to perform tests in all areas, leaving residents to investigate the matter themselves. The financial burden shouldn’t fall on households to upgrade the pipes within their homes. This is unacceptable."
“The Government has wasted a massive amount of money on the corporate monstrosity of Irish Water. We have seen close to €100 million spent on incompetent ‘consultants’, €570 million so far on water meters, even though people are being charged a flat rate, and millions more on inflated executive salaries. It is not too late for the Government to abandon Irish Water and to invest instead in a properly run, efficient, and safe water system administered by public officials."
The An Cheathru Rua based senator is also calling on the HSE to conduct an immediate investigation on the impact this contamination could have on the public’s health.