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03 Jul 2022

Irish Water under fire again over poor communications with public in Carrick-on-Suir and Ballinure

Irish Water under fire again over poor communications with public in Carrick-on-Suir and Ballinure

Irish Water has once again been roundly criticised for poor communication with the public as it layed new water mains and imposed a Boil Water Notice in Carrick-on-Suir and tackled burst water mains in the Ballinure area over the past few weeks.

Councillors from Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District voiced their deep frustration at the utility over its public relations at their monthly meeting in Carrick-on-Suir Town Hall last week.

Irish Water has been dealing with a series of issues in Carrick-on-Suir including a Boil Water Notice imposed in Carrickbeg and other parts of the town on May 13 and only lifted yesterday (Wednesday, June 1) due to turbidity in a new water supply borehole at Coolnamuck brought into production because of low water levels at Crotty’s Lake in the Comeragh Mountains.

The situation has been compounded by homes in certain Carrickbeg estates also experiencing low water pressure. Meanwhile, the utility has been laying new water mains along a section of the N24 in Carrick.

Carrick’s Cllr David Dunne of Sinn Féin claimed the situation would be “bordering on anarchy” in his hometown only for the help and information they received from two Tipperary County Council engineers, John Crowley and John Fogarty, in relation to the water supply issues affecting people in Carrickbeg and some other parts of the town living under the Boil Water Notice.

Alongside this, he highlighted how people in certain residential areas in Carrickbeg were frustrated that they had water in the morning but not later in the day and that their washing machines and showers were not working due to low water pressure.

Cllr Dunne also complained that as part of the water mains laying project on the N24 in Carrick, Irish Water went to houses in O’Mahony Avenue asking them to sign a form to allow them access to the back of their properties where the old lead pipes are located.

He complained the reason Irish Water needed access to the back yards of these homes wasn’t properly explained beforehand to the residents.

“People hadn’t a clue (what was happening). They rang me and I rang the council. Why didn’t they (Irish Water) tell councillors what was going to happen,” he asked. Cllr Dunne also wondered why Irish Water didn’t fix the sewage problem in the O’Mahony Avenue area at the same time it was carrying out the water mains replacement there.

He highlighted how he requested an Irish Water official to call him after posting a Tweet on the Irish Water Twitter site about a water supply issue in Carrick. The official sent a message back that he couldn’t call him.

“They are a shambles in how they deal with things.

“It’s basic communication. I am not asking that they can fix every problem or that they have a magic wand,” continued the Sinn Féin councillor.

And he isn’t looking forward to when Tipperary County Council’s service level agreement to do water services repairs on behalf of Irish Water ends in 2024. “God help us when Irish Water take over in 2024 when the service level agreement runs out. It’s going to be a shambles.”

Cllr Kieran Bourke echoed Cllr Dunne’s thanks to council officials and included Senior Engineer Denis Holland in his expressions of gratitude. He also echoed his fellow Carrick councillor’s criticism of Irish Water for poor communications with the public.

He complained there was a delay in informing the public about the Boil Water Notice affecting Carrickbeg via the local media and residents weren’t being kept up to date on the Boil Water Notice. He was still receiving phone calls from constituents asking if the notice was still in place.

He said the water supply in Woodland Heights in Carrickbeg was restored for a few short hours but went again. He had residents phoning him trying to find out what was happening.

Cllr Bourke explained to The Nationalist that homes in this estate as well as in Connolly Park and St Molleran’s have been switched from the Crotty’s Lake Water Supply where the water levels were low to the Linguan Water Supply.

But they are now experiencing low water pressure or getting no water supply as well as living under the Boil Water Notice.

He accepted Irish Water had serious infrastructure problems and were under funded but he advised the utility to start with improving its communication.

Mullinahone’s Cllr Kevin O’Meara, meanwhile, complained that residents didn’t know what was happening when burst water mains caused water outages in the Ballinure area last week.

He said both Irish Water and the council needed to address their communications. People would welcome more information, he added.

Council Senior Executive Engineer, John Crowley, responded that the council would discuss with Irish Water to see if improvements can be made in how they disseminate information.

In relation to Carrick-on-Suir’s water supply problems, they had rearranged the network to see if more areas of the town can receive their water from the Linguan Water Supply.

He explained the Boil Water Notice was put in place as a precaution and they hoped to be able lift it very soon. They were looking at how the water supply for that area of the town can be improved over the coming months.

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