The long awaited protocol from Irish Water for taking in charge of estates finally issued on the 6th November. Cllr. James Lawless has been campaigning for estates to be taken in charge by the council for the past two years. When an estate is taken in charge it means that the council assume responsibility for maintenance such as fixing street lights and repairing broken kerbs. If an estate is not taken in charge it can lie in limbo for years with nobody performing basic maintenance, especially with so many builders going bust in recent years. Cllr. Lawless had been working with a number of estates to get them taken over by the council and the final blocker was Irish Water which had created an obstacle from the 1st January this year on any new taking in charges.
“Basically Irish Water was responsible for the water mains and the council responsible for everything else which created a complete logjam and meant no estate could be taken over until it was fixed” explained Cllr. Lawless. “I thought this was completely unacceptable, especially with these houses all paying property taxes, they should at least be able to access basic council services. I have raised this at every council meeting since I was elected and finally we have made some progress”.
Irish Water released a protocol document last week which clarifies how they can work with councils on taking over estates and drain systems and this should allow the whole process to start again which is great news for the hundreds of affected estates.
“This should mean the councils can begin taking in charge estates again. From reading the protocol it looks to me like this whole issue was a red herring that should never have arisen in the first place. It was a misinterpretation of the legislation that became an article of faith. Yet another fiasco that Irish Water have played a starring role in and it has meant thousands of houses around the county have had to endure an extra year of waiting to receive council services despite paying property taxes” Cllr. Lawless commented.
“I have raised this repeatedly both in and out of council so I am very pleased this has come through but just frustrated it took so long. The council have their house mostly in order and there have been extra resources deployed to this so I will be pushing for full steam ahead now this roadblock has finally been removed” concluded James Lawless.