Dáil debates

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

5:00 pm

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)

I agree with what the Deputies have said. In my capacity as Minister of State, I visited the counties with the highest levels of unaccounted for water. I have already visited areas in Roscommon, south Tipperary, Kilkenny and Galway and I intend to travel to other counties.

It is essential that this matter be addressed. I agree that if we can attract buy-in from the public in respect of this process, it must be based on a programme of significant and planned reductions in the levels of unaccounted for water over a period of years. I have discussed this matter with a number of local authorities and I have been informed that it may take more than a couple of years to bring about such reductions. This is due to the fact that when one water main is repaired, another will burst and so on. The Deputies are correct that a better and more progressive system which is fairer and efficient must be put in place.

I wish to point out to Deputy Wallace that I have been informed that much of the infrastructure relating to newer builds is quite bad. I know the Deputy, in the context of any construction projects with which he is or was involved, is not culpable in this regard. However, many of the materials used by certain builders have proven to be substandard and this will give rise to significant problems when we begin to introduce water metering. When the Government receives and discusses the report it commissioned in respect of Irish Water, the relevant committee will engage in a full debate on it in order that any and all issues of concern to Members might be listened to and, if possible, acted upon.


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