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.
Fianna Fáil’s local election candidate for Naas Robert Power has slammed the Government’s dishonesty over so-called ‘new investment’ in the water services.
Mr Power has pointed out that today’s announcement of investment of €1.7billion over three years amounts to just under €600 million a year – the same amount that is currently being spent on maintaining water network. It’s also €500 million a year less than the Government’s own report recommends is invested in water services.
“This is nothing more than a PR stunt ahead of next week’s elections. It represents absolutely no new spending on our water services. Irish Water made the announcement amid great fanfare, but what people have failed to recognise is that it does not amount to one single cent of new investment. It’s exactly what was being spent on the water network anyway, before this Government came into office and before Irish Water was established,” said Mr Power.
James Lawless, Naas area local election candidate, had questions raised in the Dáil last week, seeking clarification regarding the stalling of taking-in-charge of estates since the set up of Irish Water. Kildare South Deputy, Sean O’Fearghail, tabled a number of questions to the Minister on James behalf to clarify the situation on water and taking-in-charge.
Minister Jan O’Sullivan responded stating there is no specific legal impediment preventing the taking-in-charge of estates by local authorities. However, when James spoke to Kildare County Council on 6th May, they confirmed to him that taking-in-charge cannot progress as the new Irish Water rules have put a hold on everything.
On Friday the 26th of July it was announced that Maynooth, Celbridge and Leixlip would be the first towns in the State to have water meters introduced by Irish Water. These towns are to act as the catalyst for introducing water meters across the country.
Naoise Ó Cearúil, Fianna Fáil Representative for Maynooth has expressed serious concerns over the implementation of meters and has highlighted many flaws in the Government’s plans.