Sandyvale residents demand halt to water meter installation

Irish Water accused of not informing workers of potential health and safety problems

Sandyvale Residents protest against the installation of water meters in their area.

Sandyvale Residents protest against the installation of water meters in their area.

Residents in Sandyvale Lawn are up in arms over the perceived failure of Irish Water to take heed of a report by the Galway City Council on the nature of the area's pipe network, and to inform its workers of the potential dangers when installing water meters in what is a wetland area.

Concerns over health and safety and demands that a "proper analysis" of the pipe network in Sandyvale Lawn, off the Headford Road, have led to Sinn Féin city councillor Mairéad Farrell demanding that Irish Water cease all work in Sandyvale Lawn, which began on Monday morning. The call has been echoed by local residents, who have requested that the Health and Safety Authority demand the works be stopped.

Sandyvale Estate was built on wetlands, and this required that the original pipe network be laid in a way that criss-crosses the entire area. There are concerns by residents that the work needed to install the meters could result in damage to the complex system of pipes. However, it appears that the workers who were to install the meters were not informed about the nature of the area's piping system.

Cllr Farrell had contacted Irish Water recently, and was informed by the body it was aware of this fact and had received a report detailing this from the Galway City Council. However, when Sandyvale residents approached the workers installing the water meters, the workers admitted they were unaware of this. "Any tampering with this piping could have serious implications for the health and safety of the residents," she said.

Furthermore, according to Cllr Farrell, Irish Water is obliged for health and safety reasons to give proper notification of a date for the commencement of work to all households, but, she says, but this did not happen in Sandyvale.

Cllr Farrell has again been in touch with Irish Water demanding that no work begin until the "potential damage that could be done is properly examined and discussed with residents". She also condemned the failure of Irish Water to inform its sub-contractors.

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