Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has raised concerns over the response to the ongoing water outage crisis affecting large parts of Louth and Meath.
Deputy Cowen has called on Minister Eoghan Murphy to intervene in the situation to ensure there is a co-ordinated response to the crisis.
Deputy Cowen said, “70,000 people across Louth and Meath have been left without water since last Friday. The initial response to the outage left a lot to be desired. People are worried that Irish Water seems to be unable to provide the expertise needed to spearhead the response to this crisis. There has already been two dates missed and now it may be Friday before the damaged pipe is fixed.
“Minister Murphy needs to intervene considering the haphazard response to this crisis to date. People still aren’t sure when exactly they will have their water supplies restored. Hospitals, nursing homes and other key locations are uncertain whether they will be able to continue operating safely in the days ahead. Minister Murphy needs to facilitate a co-ordinated response to this from a Government level. This is now a major crisis and a serious effort is needed to not only fix the leak, but also to meet the immediate water needs of local communities.
“Minister Murphy should give serious consideration to drafting in assistance from other local authorities from across the country. Civil Defence units around the country have the capability to transport water via fire appliances and water tankers and consideration should be given towards activating these units considering the scale of the crisis.
“Serious questions also need to be answered regarding Irish Water’s capabilities to respond to serious incidents of this nature. Irish Water has responsibility for providing a reliable water infrastructure and we need to ensure they have the expertise and human resources on hand to deal with a crisis of this kind.
“We also need to have a proper plan in place in terms of providing alternative water supplies while repairs are ongoing. There seems to have been a total lack of planning considering assistance had to be requested from Northern Ireland Water and people had to buy water in their local shops due to lack of any alternative public water supply.”