Sinn Fein Councillor Kenneth Flood has slammed Louth County Council following two unannounced water outages on two consecutive days in the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area.
Councillor Flood said “In the early afternoons of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of March I was inundated with calls from residents of several estates asking why there was no water in the area. I contacted Irish Water to query this on both days and was told on both days that they had no information.”
Councillor Flood then proceeded to contact Louth County Council who informed him they were ‘aware of an issue and it would be resolved soon.’
Cllr Flood was told on the second day of the water outage “that contractors were stress testing the new water-main for the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area, but that the water was only supposed to be off for 15 minutes. This was not the case. Residents were without water for up to 5 hours and when supply did eventually return it was murky and undrinkable.”
Councillor Flood said “They must be detached from reality not to think of the thousands of residents who were plagued by water outages for years until the North Quay watermain was replaced. Their unannounced testing caused severe stress and concern among residents. I shared the information via social media and then spent hours phoning residents back to tell them what had happened. Again, a lack of information and communication from Louth County Council.”
Kenneth Flood had harsh words with Louth County Council about these unannounced water outages and told them “they must take heed that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again.”
Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has welcomed the news that the contract has been signed to expand and upgrade the Staleen Water Plant in Drogheda.
Commenting Deputy Munster said “following on from the mayhem caused during July when 200,000 people were left without water for six days it is good news to hear that the water plant at Staleen is finally to be upgraded and modernised to make it fit for purpose.
“It should have been invested in and upgraded over the years instead of waiting for a crisis of this magnitude to happen. The contract will include the replacement of the rising main which contributed greatly to the cause of the water shortage crisis. With the contract signed for the expansion and upgrade of the plant work is expected to begin before the end of this year”.
Following the request from Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne to reinstate the collection of plastics from the Bring banks, Louth County Council has confirmed they will reinstate the service on a temporary basis. This is due to the increased volume of plastic bottles and containers used over the past week in Drogheda during the Irish Water crisis which saw tens of thousands of people left without running water for a prolonged time.
Cllr Byrne said “While I welcome the Council’s decision to temporarily reinstate this service following last week’s Water Crisis, I would like to reiterate my request that the decision should be made permanent and the full collection service of plastics resumed.”
Joanna Byrne went on to say, “In the short period of time since this service was axed there has been a significant rise in the levels of illegal dumping. The attached picture is one I took at the site of the bring banks on the intersection of Platin Road and The
Bring Banks overflowing with plastic bottles 1 week after the decision
Industrial Estate last Sunday afternoon. I reported this to Louth County Council and requested that it be tidied up immediately. This is only one example of what is happening right across the county.
“Whilst I commend the co-operation of the Local Authority with this temporary’ move, I have also written directly to Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council and requested that now that this service is back in operation, that it stay that way permanently.”
If the Chief Executive continues to defy the wishes and needs of the constituents of Co Louth, and indeed the public representatives of this county who unanimously supported a motion to keep the collection of plastics from the bring banks, Cllr Byrne has vowed she will continue to “pursue this request at any and every given opportunity”.
The Drogheda Sinn Féin Team, Deputy Imelda Munster, Cllr Joanna Byrne, Cllr David Saurin and Cllr Kenneth Flood have slammed Irish Water and central government for their handling of the water crisis that has engulfed South Louth and East Meath since a water-main burst at the Slateen Water Treatment Plant on Friday 21st of July.
Deputy Munster said “The attitude of central government has been shameful. Hands off, aloof and distant. Despite the crocodile tears of their representative in Drogheda they have not treated this emergency with anywhere near the urgency it requires. We’ve been given false hope after false hope and there is still no definite end to this crisis”.
Cllr. Joanna Byrne said, “As elected representatives we have been reacting to every situation as it arises as best and as fast as we can. In the four days of this crisis I have liaised with Louth County Council to ensure tankers of water have fed businesses and residential areas throughout Drogheda. This has meant that tankers of water have come from as far away as Thurles, Carlow and Kilkenny. At my request there have been additional water resources made available for the Fire Brigade in Drogheda too with back-up tankers being deployed from Dundalk to ensure the Drogheda Fire Service have sufficient water to tackle any call out they may get.
“What is most vexing is that The Rosehall Water Treatment plant, that I am informed could serve 40 to 80 percent of the Northside of Drogheda, was decommissioned only two months ago. We need to find out why this happened and why was Irelands 6th largest urban centre left to be fed from only a single source?”
Cllr. Kenneth Flood said “I have been on the record from the very start stating that Irish Water was not fit for purpose. Instead of fixing the out of date water network their first priority was metering. For years we experienced water outages when the North Quay water-main burst and even after the funding was allocated to replace it, Irish Water still took years to finally get on with the job. Irish Water must be questioned as to why they have not run a temporary pipe between parts of that main are not damaged as they did during the North Quay water-main replacement works to ensure a continuous supply of water? This crisis has shone a glaring light on Irish Water’s inadequacies and they can not be allowed to continue as they are”.
Cllr. David Saurin has paid tribute to the people affected by the water crisis. Cllr Saurin said, “from The Order of Malta to The Scouts among others, there have been volunteer groups distributing water to the elderly and those without transport who are unable to access the Council Water Stations or to get water from the shops. In this heat it would be understandable if tempers were to begin to fray but at the water stations neighbours have been helping each other out, carrying heavy containers and keeping each others spirits up.”
Finally, Deputy Munster said “the Sinn Fein team in Drogheda will continue to respond to residents needs and requests over the coming days and will assist those in need in any way we can”.
Speaking in Dundalk today at the Water Rally Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today said: “Sinn Féin stopped the imposition of Water Charges in the North and in government in this state we will scrap them here also.”
Gerry Adams today addressed the Right2Water march and rally in Dundalk. The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Fine Gael and Labour continue to underestimate the level of public anger over this issue. They have failed to heed the clear and unmistakable message of the people.
Sinn Féin stopped the imposition of Water Charges in the North and in government in this state we will scrap them here also. Sinn Féin will dismantle Irish Water and replace it with a new model of governance, funding and delivery that is accountable to the Oireachtas.
We will end the metering project and redirect the remaining monies to direct investment in water infrastructure.
We will establish an independent Commission on Water Services to examine the most appropriate public ownership model to report back to Government within nine months.
Sinn Féin will also oppose any attempt to privatise water services. In Government, we will hold a referendum to enshrine public ownership of Ireland’s water services in the Constitution.
We will also roll out a major water conservation programme in conjunction with local authorities.
A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for scrapping domestic Water Charges.”
The Louth TD added: “Today’s demonstration is an expression, not just of opposition to domestic water charges but to the government’s whole austerity agenda. Decision after decision taken by this Government has caused chaos in the lives of working families.
As we approach the centenary of 1916, we again must decide what kind of future we want for our country and for our children.
Sinn Féin wants a society based on equality and fairness. We want to deliver a fair recovery for all. That means a new, fairer taxation system and an end to unfair taxes that penalise working families and vulnerable citizens.
For the first time in the history of this State, there is a clear and present alternative to the stale politics of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
The Right2Change platform is bringing progressive parties and individuals together in a way not previously seen.”