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Dundalk Councillor’s ‘disgust’ at Irish Water refusal to attend meeting

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Discoloured tap water has been reported in many parts of Dundalk over the last year

Discoloured tap water has been reported in many parts of Dundalk over the last year

Cllr. Kevin Meenan

Cllr. Kevin Meenan

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Discoloured tap water has been reported in many parts of Dundalk over the last year

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A Louth Councillor has spoken of his “disgust” at Irish Water’s decision not to attend council meetings to hear local concerns about the quality of water.

Cllr. Kevin Meenan told the local authority September meeting that he was “ really not impressed” with the response from Irish Water to a request for a representative to attend a council meeting.

He said that water discolouration was still a major issue in many households in Dundalk, and he was “disgusted” at the letter from Irish Water. It was vital, he added, that they attend a council meeting to discuss the ongoing situation.

He noted that Irish Water had advised members could raise their concerns at online clinics, but said he had attended some of these, and they were “not great.”

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In a response to the council, Irish Water said they “do not have the resources to attend council meetings in each county,” but that they aim to “provide accurate and up-to-date responses to any queries raised by elected representatives as quickly as possible.”

Cllr. Maeve Yore told the meeting there was a “lack of engagement” shown by Irish Water.

"I think, across the county, the refusal by Irish Water to meet councillors is alarming.” 

Cllr. Joanna Byrne added that she was aware there were issues that Dundalk and mid Louth councillors had wanted to address with Irish Water. She added that the original request had been made in 2019.

“It has been three years, that is how long Irish Water have been refusing to address queries from members, at a time now when that request is still as prevalent now as it was then.”

She added that if “Irish Water aren’t willing to come into a meeting with us, perhaps they can facilitate a meeting somewhere of their choice, with elected members and council members. Three years is a long time.”

Cllr. Edel Corrigan asked if the concerns could be referred to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as there “quality of drinking water” issues being raised.

"People are afraid to drink the water from their taps, they are afraid to wash their children in it, or brush their teeth. It is just not good enough.”

She said the water at her own home was dark brown, adding “even if it was boiled I wouldn’t drink it, and I wouldn’t advise anyone else to drink it either.”

She criticised the “lack of communication” from Irish Water, adding “This is a bigger issue than simply telling councillors to go to clinics held.”

The meeting heard that Louth County Council can’t compel Irish Water to attend meetings.

Councillors were told that despite the discolouration, the water “is safe” and there were no health concerns raised which would lead to boil water notices being issued.

Chief Executive Joan Martin said she would “strongly advise” councillors to use the forum in place for elected reps.

She added that with Irish Water soon to take over the operation of services entirely, the opportunities for councillors to raise issues at council meetings were limited.


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