'Joke' as town with no drinking water has meters put in
TOWN residents who say they have had no drinking water for up to four years were left dumbfounded after their homes were selected for water meters.
Irish Water contractors began installing meters in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, two weeks ago despite ongoing problems with the supply.
The move has led to anger among residents who have been battling for clean drinking water for up to four years.
Local councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice hit out at the decision by Irish Water as "ridiculous".
"Locals here thought it was a joke. They have been boiling and buying water for months in the town and years in the outskirts and instead of focusing on the water problems Irish Water is putting in meters.
"People are saying if they had put as much effort into resolving the problem with the water as they have putting in the meters it would have been sorted long ago," he added.
Irish Water also plans to install meters in Boyle, where residents have been told they won't be able to drink the water until 2015.
"They certainly didn't put much thought into it. For four years people on the rural scheme have been boiling water while those in the centre of town have had to boil it for the past four months.
"It seems a strange move to choose two towns where we can't use the water to roll out the meters in Roscommon," he added.
It has also emerged that the amalgamation of the Castlerea Urban and Rural schemes will now go ahead after the project had been stalled for a number of months.
"It is finally going through and we've been told by Irish Water that it will be Christmas before our drinking water is restored.
"But at this stage we've heard this news so often and with no results that this time people are waiting until it actually happens before they'll believe it," added Mr Fitzmaurice.
An Irish Water spokeswoman said: "Irish Water has prioritised the issue of boil water notices and has resourced a specialist team to significantly reduce the number of households on boil water notices by over two-thirds by end 2014."
Pointing to the "challenging targets" of installing one million meters by the end of 2016, she added: "Irish Water has installed over 145,000 water meters to date and has already reached the 27,000 per month target installation run rate.
"At present, metering is under way in Mayo, Roscommon, Kerry, Cork, Limerick, North Tipperary, Kildare, Meath, Dublin City and county, Kilkenny and Wexford."