Fears of water cut offs after council hands over service

North Tipperary county councillors have expressed concerns over how water services in the county will be managed from next year. Irish Water, the agency charged with delivering water services throughout the country, will take over as the main agency for the county from next Janaury 1.

North Tipperary county councillors have expressed concerns over how water services in the county will be managed from next year.

Irish Water, the agency charged with delivering water services throughout the country, will take over as the main agency for the county from next Janaury 1.

This means the council has to review its current Development Contribution Scheme 2012-2015, which will allow it contribute more to community projects.

However, while Irish Water will be responsible for capital spending on water projects, the council will have to apply to them if they want to increase capacity in towns or along roads, and this will be at Irish Water’s discretion.

“Irish Water will have such a hold over our services, we’ll have no say,” Cllr Michael O’Meara told the council. “We are selling the family silver. This is not acceptable.”

He also had concerns over dealing with those who may fall into arrears in paying water charges. “Expect that people will have their water cut off. I don’t know of any case where we have cut off water,” he said.

He was supported by Cllr Virginia O’Dowd, who couldn’t accept that Irish Water would have control over capacity but the need for any extra spending was not included in that. “We are giving everything over to Irish Water but we will still need to pay if we are to extend our water supply or water schemes,” she said, demanding the council meet the agency.

Director of services Marcus O’Connor said that among the applications the council will have to make are ones for an upgrade to the sewerage system in Nenagh and the water supply in Ballina. The final say will be in Irish Water’s hands, who will also set water charges. Cllr Hughie McGrath also raised concerns over funding for the Ballintoher scheme.

Meanwhile, under the review, Cllr Jim Casey and Cllr Pauline Coonan asked that regulations on tertiary roads be changed to allow councillors spend their discretionary funding on cul de sacs.