A Donegal councillor has hit out at Irish Water, saying he will not attend a briefing for public representatives being organised by the company next week in Carrick on Shannon.
Cllr Dessie Shiels says it's quite clear that these ‘briefings’ for councillors have been organised in the face of the widespread boycott by householders to date.
He says Irish Water thinks it can now use councillors to start to convince householders that actually working with the company is the best way forward.
He says if the company wants to be helpful, it should tell him when it intends to carry out work to bring the sewerage system in Letterkenny in line with EU legislation.
He's been speaking to Highland Radio news.....
This morning, Cllr Shiels published the e-mail exchange -
Subject: Briefing with Irish Water
You are invited to a briefing with Irish Water on:
Date: Wednesday 29th October
Time: 16:00 – 18:00
Location: Landmark Hotel, Carrick-On-Shannon.
- Introduction and Overview of Irish Water & the Water Charges Plan
- Capital Investment
- LA Transformation Plan
- Customer Application Campaign
- Question and Answers Session
We would be grateful if you could RSVP by Monday 27th October.
There will be Councillor Briefings taking place throughout the month of October at various locations across the country. If you cannot make your briefing, we will endeavour to accommodate you on another date, subject to availability.
Subject: RE: Briefing with Irish Water
I will not be attending your ‘briefing’ in Carrick-On-Shannon.
These ‘briefings’ are nothing more than PR stunts.
The chosen methodology of Irish water to date has been to bulldoze ruthlessly over the very legitimate concerns of householders. It has refused to answer simple queries on water quality and safety issues. It has proceeded to install meters without first ensuring that there is a proper water network in place where all citizens receive the same quality of water and where all water leakage issues have been resolved. It has spent millions on consultancy fees. It has developed a bonus culture for its staff whilst at the same time determining that it will charge exorbitant call out fees to householders.
Its plan quite obviously is to bill householders whether they like it or not and the message to householders has quite simply been to ‘pay up and shut up’.
Irish water has very deliberately decided to style itself as a faceless organisation so that the many legitimate concerns of householders can remain unanswered and where it can remain unaccountable. This is not acceptable in a democratic society. Ramming a tax on water down householder’s throats where the water being pumped into their homes is often disgusting is a disgrace.
Irish Water obviously doesn’t give one damn about engaging with those it proposes to bill, less so in engaging with those who have been elected at Local level as County Councillors. You have treated all parties with contempt. In that regard, I note with some amusement that item no.5 on your proposed agenda is a “Customer Application Campaign”. Do you seriously expect any elected councillor with any common sense to assist Irish Water in a process of convincing householders that they should sign up to pay water charges? The fact that there has been a widespread boycott of your charges to date is a problem of your own making and I for one won’t be assisting you to resolve it. You have made your own bed and can lie in it as far as I am concerned.
Perhaps if Irish Water wants to do something useful for me as a Councillor elected in the Letterkenny Electoral area it could advise when it will comply with the legally binding direction of the Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade the existing Main Letterkenny water supply Treatment Plant to include a barrier for both THM removal and Cryptosporidium removal. The Letterkenny supply serves 19,500 people and Irish Water has some cheek to be charging people for water when it itself is before the Court on water safety issues for that very same water.
Irish Water is a contemptible organisation who I hold no respect for and I hope that County Councillors throughout Ireland will boycott your PR stunt ‘briefings’ and show you the same contempt that you have shown to householders throughout Ireland for the last year.
Councillor Dessie Shiels
Member of Donegal County Council