Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Barry Cowen TD, has called for the Government to confirm if its ‘First Fix Free’ policy will apply to excessive lead levels in drinking water.
Media reports this week that 41 different schools, businesses and homes have been found to have excessive levels of lead in their water supply after tests were carried out by the EPA.
Deputy Cowen said basic water provisions for schools and other public services must be a priority and the quality of water must be maintained.
“I am calling on the Government to confirm that their ‘First Fix Free’ policy, whereby Irish Water has promised to fix leaks on people’s private property, will extend to fixing pipes in instances where there is excessive lead.
“We cannot have a situation where schools and businesses are paying water charges but then don’t have adequate drinking water. Excessive levels of lead in water is a health risk and poses particular danger for young children.
“While Irish Water contends that this is an issue for the Department of Education, we need to see proper communication and co-operation between these state bodies to ensure there is clean drinking water for children and adults.
“I am calling for a prompt publication of the EPA tests on lead levels from 2013, which are not yet available. There also needs to be extensive testing of all facilities with lead piping to ascertain how widespread the problem is.
“The schools and businesses involved also need to be identified so remedial works can take place. This is a public health issue, both Irish Water and the Department of Education must work to ensure this problem is sorted before the new school years begins in September.”