herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Irish Water to repair 25,000 leaks over next two years

John Tierney Managing Director of Irish Water
John Tierney Managing Director of Irish Water

IRISH Water expects to repair 25,000 leaks over the next two years under its "first fix free" policy.

The company said it was currently engaged in a €3.4m pilot project which has identified the 1,000 most serious leaks across the country, adding that the water regulator will shortly begin a public consultation on the new policy.

The Government has allocated €51m to repair leaks between the stopcock and people's homes, which could result in higher bills for customers if they are left unaddressed for a long period of time.

The first fix free policy does not cover internal plumbing works, and Irish Water said it had already repaired around 200 leaks.

But the company has come under fire for the long delay in the rolling out of its first fix free .

The scheme was launched last May, but after 10 months the company has admitted it is still only at the pilot stage.

It will be another few weeks yet before it is rolled out in full.

Fianna Fail senator Averil Power described the delay as "ridiculous".

One couple in her constituency, Sean and Eileen Daly, were told they would have to fix a leak on their property themselves because the policy did not apply to their home in Donaghmede, north Dublin.

The couple said they were shocked after water staff dug up a path, spotted the leak and then left it unfixed because it was within the boundaries of their property.

According to Ms Power, the delay contradicts pledges by the Government that homeowners would not get landed with large repair bills.

"The Minister for Environment must immediately address this issue so more homeowners are not hit with hefty bills for repairing links that the Government said would be the responsibility of Irish Water," Mr Power said.

Meanwhile, Irish Water meter installers have claimed for extra money after they said they incurred unexpected costs.

The contractors claim a number of factors have influenced their calls for extra cash from the utility, including shoddy Celtic Tiger workmanship.

It is understood that wrong-sized junction boxes, pipes and stop-cocks fitted below the correct level have all contributed to the extra claims.

noconnor@herald.ie

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