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Government fail to prepare for inevitable water shortages - Eoin Ó Broin TD

6 March, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has criticised the government for failing to plan for the inevitable water shortages that have occurred as a result of the freezing weather conditions.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Wastewater treatment and domestic water supply are under enormous strain in the aftermath of the recent freezing conditions.

“It is clear from the scale of the shortages and the number of boil water notices issued, that Irish Water, National Emergency Co-ordination Group and the Department of Housing did not anticipate such levels of disruption.

“Huge swathes of households are without water across the country including in parts of Cork, Wexford and Leitrim.

"Evening time restrictions are in place across Dublin City and County and there is reduced water pressure in parts of Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. Many of these people without any water after the 7am restriction was lifted.

“The government has been caught out. Much earlier notice should have been given to households in areas with low headroom supply as the disruption should have been easily anticipated by both Irish Water and government.

“There was a failure to prepare, coordinate and communicate and there should have been a comprehensive plan in place for access to adequate alternative water supplies.

“The consequence of historic state under-investment in the Irish Water system is once again apparent.

"The wastewater treatment system is not fit for purpose and is subject to European infringement proceedings. Astonishingly the government actually reduced investment in waste water treatment upgrades after 2014.

"The Irish Water business plan and this government do not invest sufficiently in addressing wastage in the public water system.

“In our Alternative Budget last year, Sinn Féin proposed to increase capital investment in water and sanitation by €100 million in 2018. The funds would be targeted at remedying these issues.

“Unfortunately this sensible proposal has fallen on deaf ears.  Until the government accept that this is problem they will keep having to deal with on an emergency ad hoc basis then households can expect similar situations to occur after extreme weather events.”

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