Council calls on Irish Water to replace all lead pipes

In Ballynanty, Council workers are issuing sealed bags of water to the local residents, for fear of lead in the water pipes.
In Ballynanty last summer council workers issued sealed bags of water to residents, for fear of lead in the water pipes.

by Kathy Masterson

[email protected]

THE Metropolitan district of Limerick City and County Council has passed a motion calling on Irish Water to prioritise the replacement of all lead piping in the city “as a matter of public health and safety”.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Michael Sheahan (FG) was an amendment of an original motion tabled by the three Anti-Austerity Alliance councillors, Cllrs Cian Prendiville, Paul Keller and John Loftus, who had called on Irish Water to cease the water meter installation programme and divert all resources to the replacement of lead piping.

The three also called for the costs of the programme to be paid for by the State “as in Ballynanty and Kileely”.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

However, the elected members voted in favour of Cllr Sheahan’s amendment by 11 to six, with Cllrs Keller and Loftus, the three Sinn Féin councillors and Cllr John Gilligan (IND) voting against amending the original motion.

Speaking on his party’s motion, Cllr Keller noted: “There is currently a cap on water charges, making the meters useless at the moment, and possibly for another two to three years.”

He also pointed out that many householders would be unable to afford the cost of replacing lead pipes in their homes.

Comhairleoir Séighin Ó Ceallaigh (SF) commented: “Charging people for unsafe water is irresponsible. People are paying for their water in several other ways, such as the Motor Tax and Property Tax”.

He also called on Irish Water to “prioritise making water safe for people, rather than the installation of meters that are going to charge people an extraordinary amount for water that they’re already paying for”.

Independent councillor John Gilligan said: “Hopefully Irish Water won’t exist after next year. I don’t think we should be asking Irish Water to do anything”.

Labour councillor Elena Secas said she did not believe the water meters served no purpose, noting that “they are also for water conservation”.