herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

TD calls for grant scheme to help homeowners replace lead piping

environment

UNHAPPY: TD Sean Kenny
UNHAPPY: TD Sean Kenny

Labour TD Sean Kenny has called for a grant scheme to aid in the removal of harmful lead pipes from Dublin homes.

His calls come amid revelations that some 42 public water supplies in the State are contaminated with dangerous levels of the metal.

The latest tests by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found a worrying number of lead levels that exceeded new safety thresholds.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr Kenny said: "Dublin city alone was known to have several thousand homes" that still contain internal lead pipes.

"This is an issue that is replicated across Ireland and the EU but it should not be the burden of the homeowner to rectify alone," he said.

However, Mr Kenny said that the issue did not lie with Irish Water and the problem needed to be addressed on various levels.

"This is a legacy issue, many of the houses affected were built by Dublin Corporation in the '50s and '60s and then sold on.

"While Irish Water must be involved in this process, so too [must] Dublin City Council and the Government," he added.

"We have grant schemes for home improvements and insulation programmes, so homes are more energy efficient. It would make sense to have a similar scheme here."

Bryan Leeper is a resident in St Anne's Estate in Raheny where some 700 homes are thought to be affected by the issue.

"This is a potentially lethal problem. We have a nine-year-old girl in the house, and this is very worrying. The pipe running from the mains into the house under the driveway is lead and needs to be addressed.

"It will cost more than €5,000 to change it. I am more than happy to put some money towards this but can't afford all of the costs. I know others in the estate who can't afford any of it."

tainted

Mr Leeper said that there had been a high incidence of particular types of illnesses in the area and expressed his concern that the tainted water may be the cause.

Public health specialist Dr Anthony Breslin recently warned of the impact that the metal can have on an individuals' well-being.

He said that the full impact of lead exposure was a serious issue that could cause neurological disease.

Mr Leeper has said the family are currently in limbo and afraid to drink the water in their home amid concerns of falling unwell.

Irish Water have said property owners handle the water distribution on their own properties, including all domestic internal plumbing.

Mr Kenny says the controversial utility are currently liaising with the EPA to help finalise a national strategy to address the issue.

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