independent

Saturday 27 December 2014

Mid Kerry water 'too unreliable to pay for'

Donal Nolan and Marisa Reidy

Published 30/10/2013 | 05:36

INDEPENDENT Councillor, Brendan Cronin, has asked that customers attached to the Mid Kerry Water Scheme be exempt from water charges in 2015 because of the continuous breakages in the pipe network that mean some people can't even have a shower in the morning.

INDEPENDENT Councillor, Brendan Cronin, has asked that customers attached to the Mid Kerry Water Scheme be exempt from water charges in 2015 because of the continuous breakages in the pipe network that mean some people can't even have a shower in the morning.

On one occasion, he said, a hotel in the area was forced to hire the fire brigade to draw water to a function, while Cllr Michael Cahill - who seconded his motion - outlined an occasion when the water was cut off as a local golf club was once catering for 160 people at a sit down meal.

Speaking at this month's meeting of Kerry County Council, Cllr Cronin said that over €826,000 had been spent on repairing over 400 leaks on the scheme in the past three years and the ongoing situation is causing enormous problems for private and commercial customers. He said it was highly unfair to ask them to pay for a service that is simply not being provided.

"If you [Kerry County Council] cannot provide a reliable service then these people who will be forced to pay water charges will have to be accommodated," he said.

Meanwhile, fears are mounting that mains and sewer connection prices in Kerry could skyrocket in coming years as Irish Water takes over the domestic water network.County councillors will no longer have any say over connection prices at budget time as the new agency assumes sole responsibility for the entire sector. The move could place even greater financial hardship on Kerry consumers if the record of electricity and gas price rises in recent years are anything to go by, a local politician has warned.

"Anyone building properties had to pay development levies for water and sewer connections to Kerry County Council but all that is about to change completely and I am very concerned over the implications to prices," Fianna Fáil County Councillor John Brassil warned.

He said customers are currently protected by legislation requiring councillors to ratify county budgets before they are adopted. "That democratic control will be gone for good in January and Irish Water will be solely in charge of the supply and pricing, charging for connections as well as water use with the new meters."

Kerry County Council has confirmed it will no longer have any say in water prices come January with Irish Water responsible for charges. A spokesperson for the authority said: 'Pricing will be a matter for Irish Water'.

Kerryman

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