By Dan Walsh
Moderate contempt for Irish Water is frequently aired at district meetings, but claims that Irish Water is neglecting rural Wexford was alleged by a number of speakers at yesterday’s (Wednesday) Special Meeting of Wexford County Council held at White’s Hotel, Wexford, under strict Covid-19 pandemic guidelines.
The criticism comes in the perception that Irish Water is failing to provide adequate services in small towns and villages to sustain development such as once off construction or the revival of housing clusters that assist in keeping people resident in communities where they have family roots.
Cllr Oliver Walsh told the meeting something must be done to save rural Ireland and he had issues with Irish Water who recently requested €46,000 for the provision of a fire hydrant in his local GAA Club.
“I have no faith in Irish Water,” said Cllr Diarmuid Devereux. Cllr Michael Whelan wondered if a representative of Irish Water could be invited to the September meeting. Cllr Pat Barden felt “we are going around in circles with Irish Water” and he suggested it may be time for a vote of ‘no confidence’.
“We need to make some sort of serious statement,” he concluded.
A number of councillors added their voices to the debate, Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy, referred to the inability for development in some North Wexford villages due to Irish Water being unable to supply adequate capacity for water supply and wastewater services.
Director of Services, Tony Larkin, stated that 50 villages have facilities and there is no demand. It is not like the Celtic Tiger days and some people have great difficulty in selling houses. “People are living in small villages. It can be done. Development can take place.” He added that Irish Water claims there is spare capacity available.
Mr Larkin emphasised that Wexford County Council is not a water authority. It is not a statutory body. It has no powers and do not get any funding.