Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I believe the original purpose of changing over to Irish Water and moving all services from local authorities was to privatise it. The people went out on the streets and stopped that. It now seems we are going to keep Irish Water in public ownership, which is right. However, it was already in public ownership with the local authorities. That was the best place for it to be.
That said, Irish Water is in place and I am outlining the problems we face as public representatives when dealing with Irish Water, as well as the problems residents encounter. In some cases, Irish Water fixed a fault, only for other houses to be knocked off the system through air locks and other faults. We must have a mechanism to deal with that. We cannot just turn around and say to people it is their responsibility. Many of these are senior citizens and pensioners, left with a large bill to sort out a problem that they never had before. It is just not good enough. We need to have better mechanisms. The handbook needs to be revisited with some of these issues. I have encountered it on a number of occasions. On a lot of occasions Irish Water has reacted reasonably well. However, there are many occasions where there has not been a proper reaction with people angry over it.
The residents to whom I spoke only this morning were fuming over what happened. They were not even given warnings. No one even sent a letter around from door to door, which to me would be the most sensible thing to do, especially for those with sick people at home. That would give them the opportunity to store water and be ready for a cut-off.