Irish Water’s refusal to maintain sewerage pipes that connected to houses was criticised at a meeting of the Clonmel/Cahir Borough District Council.
Cllr. Pat English said he was very disappointed with Irish Water’s approach on this.
It had cost billions of euro of government money to establish the company but when there was a problem they kicked to touch. For 30 or 40 years these sewerage pipes in Clonmel were maintained by the Council. It wasn’t the fault of residents living in these areas that no money was invested in the system. Irish Water should be requested to take these sewers under their control.
Cllr. Michael Murphy said they were at a critical situation with the water supply in Clonmel. The only solution to the hard water problem on the north side of Clonmel, about which they had received endless representations, was the extraction of water from the river Suir. This should be the number one priority and he asked if discussions had taken place with Irish Water about that proposal.
Cllr. Marie Murphy was pleased that work on the Burncourt water scheme had started. If there was a problem in the past with the drains in houses they were sorted by the Council. You couldn’t give people a service for 20 years and then withdraw it and this was an issue that would keep coming up in former Council estates. A group of councils in the Munster region should get together on this and make a strong case to Irish Water, she suggested.
Cllr. Richie Molloy said that three of four times a year the Council would have looked after the sewerage pipes at the rear of houses in Upper Irishtown, Clonmel.It was very difficult for elderly people to chip in and pay a plumber to do that work. People with hard water were very angry that they were expected to pay charges as well as buying salt for their appliances.
Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose said she had representations from people living in Sheehy Terrace, Heywood Heights, Tobaraheena, Irishtown and Kickham Park about the maintainance of the sewerage pipes. Irish Water had stated that they were looking at the possibility of bringing stop cocks onto the main road.
The announcement that people who had hard water wouldn’t receive any allowance on their charges was a source of dismay. Those people had already spent an amount of money buying water softeners and replacing electrical appliances such as showers and kettles.
Irish Water should suspend all charges until the service was fit for purpose, said Cllr. Andy Moloney.They couldn’t expect people to pay for water when they weren’t receiving a service.
He knew people who had no water in the evening, and when the service came back at 7 o’clock the following morning the pressure was so strong it would almost blow the sink out of the kitchen.
If the County Council did a job and Irish Water decided they wouldn’t pay for it the money had to come from someplace, said Matt Shortt, the Council’s Director of Services for water and the environment. “Everything we do must have Irish Water approval”, he said.
The Council freed blockages in public sewers, said senior engineer Denis Holland. However if the problem was in a service pipe going into a house then Irish Water said it was the responsibility of the owner of the house.
The Council was constantly impressing on Irish Water that this was a major concern for people. Mr. Holland wasn’t aware of any proposal by Irish Water to replace combined drains with public sewers. Irish Water was reviewing the project to extract water from the Suir. The scheme was at the planning stage and the Council had impressed the urgency of it, and the proposed reservoir at Giantsgrave, Clonmel, on Irish Water.