A NUMBER of Kerry county councillors have expressed strong opposition to the introduction of household metering in Kerry this week, saying it is grossly unfair to charge customers for water when the existing network is prone to leaks, breakages and regular disruptions.
The members were speaking after a presentation to the council on Monday by Minister of State, Fergus O'Dowd, who was outlining the procedure by which metering will be introduced in Kerry.
Cllr John Brassil said he had major reservations about the scheme, which began in Kerry this week with the installation of the first meter in Tralee.
Cllr Brassil claimed that thousands of metres of piping is in vital need of repair, telling the meeting that it is not fair to charge customers for water when they experience leaks and breakages through no fault of their own. He said that if people are being charged for water, the least they can expect is a problem-free supply.
His sentiments were echoed by Cllr Brendan Cronin and Cllr Michael Cahill who both spoke specifically about the difficulties with the Mid Kerry Water Scheme. Cllr Cronin said there are continuous problem with 'breaks, bursts and leaks' and questioned what action will be taken in this regard before billing begins.
Cllr Cahill was equally concerned, saying he did not support a system whereby people are being charged for water they are not using, but that is being lost though leakages and breaks.
Minister O'Dowd assured the meeting that Irish Water had confirmed that the first breakage experienced by the bill payer will be covered free-of-charge. Cllr Cahill asked that this not be copper-fastened until the water schemes in Kerry be examined.
The Minister said that Irish Water would discuss the issue with all local authorities and a programme of works be determined for each county.