‘I’m drinking the water and I’m fine!’

Metropolitan Mayor Daniel Butler with his glass of water at the ready. Photo: Keith Wiseman

“THE water is safe to drink. I’m drinking the water. I’m fine,” said Metropolitan Mayor Daniel Butler at City Hall last Monday.

Speaking following a motion on water services, the Fine Gael politician said he did not want the message to leave this month’s Metropolitan District meeting that the water supply in Limerick was not safe to drink.

“Some of what has been said makes it sound like we are drinking water out of a nuclear factory,” he added.

Independent councillor John Loftus had proposed a motion calling on the Government to give back control and operation of all water services to city and county councils throughout the State.

“I don’t drink the water that comes out of the taps. Our water contains phosphates, a poison used to make nerve gas,” Cllr Loftus claimed.

Fianna Fail councillor Kieran O’Hanlon seconded the proposal. He said that residents in Garryowen were having serious issues with the sewerage system at the backs of their homes.

“One man with a serious disability was left with sewage flowing directly into his back garden at the weekend. Irish Water said it is private property and therefore an issue for the householder. They didn’t fix it,” Cllr O’Hanlon explained.

“Water service needs to be brought back under our control. We are left holding the baby.”

Solidarity councillor Paul Keller was equally frustrated.

“Are we an experiment? Are we expendable? Are they just chancing their arms? Are we just the guinea pigs?” he asked.

“People rely on their senses, their sense of smell and taste. They are not convinced that the water is totally safe to drink.”

Labour Party councillor Elena Secas wanted to know if the Council had engaged with all the local authorities in the State to see if they supported the motion.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan asked if Limerick City and County Council’s chief executive wanted the “poison chalice” of water services back under his control.

Director of Service Operations, Kieran Lehane reiterated Mayor Butler’s sentiments that water is safe to drink and assured councillors that there are very strict parameters in place for testing water.

“Water is for human consumption and these parameters are being met,” he insisted.