Fianna Fáil General Election candidate, Cllr Paul McAuliffe has called on Irish Water to establish a Cold Weather Liaison Group in co-ordination with Councillors in each of the four Dublin local authorities.

He commented, “While authorities appear to have planned well for the impending big freeze, I am concerned that the thaw over the coming days may pose many challenges, particularly the pressure on the city’s water network.

“In 2009, there was entire shortage of water with some areas on high ground without water for several weeks. On that occasion the City Council were forced to deploy water tanks.

“Following the freezing weather in both 2010 and 2011, residents and proprietors in the Dublin were forced to deal with wide spread water leaks, burst pipes and a city wide shortage of treated fresh water.

“I am conscious that the measures put in place by Dublin City Council Water Engineers during each of these periods, have now been superseded by the Irish Water Service level agreement.

“Very often, residents turn to their local Councillor for support in dealing with issues such as water outages and particularly as the thaw sets in after this freeze, they will be eager for any update or information regarding the protection of their water supply.

“It is therefore imperative that local Councillors remain a crucial element of any communication or management plan that will be drawn up to deal with these challenges.

“Once the cold weather abates I believe it is necessary to host a full briefing of local authority members on the protocols for leak repairs and for the recommendations of the Cold Weather Communications Report to be implemented in full.

“From my own previous experience as Chair of the Cold Weather Communications Group in 2011, I very much encourage authorities to adopt the same approach. “