Sinn Féin Councillor John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh has described today’s (Thursday’s) briefing of elected member of Donegal County Council into Irish Water’s plans to resolve the ongoing disruption to water services in the Falcarragh area however, he has again called on the utility to urgently outline how it plans to met the town’s immediate supply needs.
His comments follow the unveiling of plans by the company to replace two separate sections of problematic piping in the village which it’s believed has been the cause of several incidences of outages over recent months.
It’s understood that Irish Water intends to commence this work this September however, Cllr Ó Fearraigh says that residents and business owners must have peace of mind that they will have access to a safe and reliable water supply in the interim.
Cllr Ó Fearraigh said:
“This morning’s briefing session for Councillors in the Glenties Municipal District which was held by Irish Water at my request was largely positive.
“During the meeting, officials gave details of its plans to replace two separate sections of the network totally over 3km in length something which they believe should resolve this issue and prevent future bursts.
“It’s understood that funding has been approved to progress this work through the company’s Leakage Reduction Programme and I’m happy to have received confirmation that a contractor has been identified to carry out this project which it’s hoped will commence this September.
“At today’s meeting, Irish Water acknowledged that these ongoing outages are unacceptable and apologised to the local community over what has become an all too frequent inconvenience for householders and businesses alike.
“During the session, elected representatives called on Irish Water to consult with the local community about these plans in advance of these works going ahead and I expect the utility to honour that commitment.
“Similarly, Councillors at today’s meeting also proposed that businesses that have had to contend with supply issues be compensated for the loss of trade this situation has caused them, and Irish Water has said that it will take this suggestion back to senior management for a decision.
“Additionally, we also queried how the company plans to address the immediate supply needs of the area and I hope that Councillors will receive greater details on those very plans shortly.
“While today’s session was largely positive, there are lessons from this episode which Irish Water must learn, including the absolute shambolic way it has communicated with its customers in Falcarragh and the surrounding region over the last number of weeks and months.
“While I wait to see how these plans progress over the coming months, I pledge to continue to hold the utility to account and I will be insisting that disruptions now be kept to an absolute minimum whilst the community – who have been so patient and understanding – await to have these works completed.”