Writes Ciaran Dineen
Carrigaline MD Councillors are furious with Irish Water as the latest update on the Ballinhassig water-main fiasco has seen estimated costs of repair rise by €2 million. The overall costs are now set to add up to nearly €4 million, according to a report obtained by Councillors following a request.
The two representatives who are particularly aggrieved are Councillor Aidan Lombard (FG) and Councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind), who let-rip over the ongoing issue at June’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District.
In a motion Cllr Lombard proposed that the district would write to Irish Water and ask if a representative could come and face the Councillors and discuss the water-main replacement from Ballinhassig to Halfway. He indicated that since November 2019, the main has seen 6 breaks on different occasions, each costing somewhere in the region of €5,000 to temporarily fix.
Cllr Lombard has said that it isn’t just the fact that residents and businesses face the disgraceful scenario of living without water for a period of time, but also the effect that it is playing on the closure of roads in the area and the knock-on impact that this is having on the villages.
Speaking to The Carrigdhoun Newspaper Cllr Lombard stated, “the situation is gone beyond acceptable. Each outage results in the village of Ballinhassig closing and the contractor for Irish Water is there so frequently that he has made up signage that says the Five Mile – Ballinhassig Road is closed. To add insult to injury these businesses are getting bills for a standing charge during the period they were closed. They never know if water will be there or not but Irish Water feel it’s appropriate to bill them for a service they don’t supply with any certainty.”
At the meeting Cllr Lombard claimed that he was “embarrassed” to walk around the village of Ballinhassig because he was adamant prior to last year’s local elections that the pipe was going to be fixed, because Irish Water had given that promise. He went on to say, “I’ve no doubt that they (Irish Water) will refuse to come to us here but maybe it’s just another little bit of embarrassment for them, to show how they keep reneging on what they said they would do.”
In support of this motion was Cllr Dalton O’Sullivan, who was equally frustrated and offended at the lack of care given to the people of Ballinhassig and Halfway.
“I fully support Aidan Lombard. We have to call them in. The latest update that I got was that they are planning to prioritise 830 metres of the main in 2021 at the cost of €405,000. Now as Aidan said, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It’s causing constant disruption to Ballinhassig and the cost of it all. You might as well go to the top of County Hall and throw €5000 out of the window, and it’s funny because they’re telling us now to save water with a hosepipe ban. It should be more in their mind to go down and fix the 18000 litres that is pouring out on the road 15 times a year.”
MD Chair Councillor Seamus McGrath (FF) agreed that the situation and the responses simply wasn’t good enough. He supported the idea of writing to Irish Water to demand a meeting and said that the district as a whole would submit that request.
On Wednesday afternoon Councillor Lomabrd informed constituents that Irish Water had met with Carrigaline MD councillors. From that meeting he was able to provide an update, saying, "Irish Water have committed to having a contractor on-site in January 2021 to do a 900m section from Paddy Bridge to Ballinhassig and another section over by Five Mile. This will allow Irish Water to feed all 4 villages from either the Innishannon supply or the Inniscara supply on the event of an outage. I have been suggesting this solution for a long time now and happy to see this happen. They 100% guaranteed us this will happen."