Fianna Fáil Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice has called on the government to ensure that the water network in Roscommon is fit for purpose before water charges are introduced.
The Roscommon Councillor has hit out at the Environment Minister Phil Hogan following reports that the government will wait until after water charges are imposed in 2015 before repairing major water problems affecting private properties.
“This ‘charge first, fix later’ policy is totally unacceptable,” said Cllr Fitzmaurice. “We know that there are chronic problems affecting water network in Co Roscommon. The government simply cannot expect local homeowners to pay for a water system that is not fit for purpose.
“While it is certainly welcome that households will not be forced to pay the cost of these repairs in addition to paying water charges, I cannot understand why the government would wait until 2015 before beginning the necessary repair works.
“If householders in Roscommon are expected to pay for their water, they have a right to expect a decent quality service. We cannot expect homeowners to pay for their water when boil water notices are in place and there are regular disruptions to supply. And we certainly cannot expect people to wait until after they are already paying for their water before the government gets around to fixing these problems.
“Minister Hogan has already cut funding to Roscommon County Council and we simply cannot afford the necessary repair works to improve our water quality. The council is currently completing an application to amalgamate Castlerea urban and rural water schemes and secure funding to carry out the necessary repairs so that our water system is fit for purpose. I am urging Minister Hogan to approve this plan without delay. It is only after all the necessary improvements are made that the government can even talk about water charges.
“Fine Gael needs to know that it is simply not good enough to introduce charges before we can guarantee quality water and a decent standard of supply,” Cllr Fitzmaurice said.