Anne McFadden pictured stocking up with bottles of water in the local Centra in Falcarragh this week. PICTURE: BRIAN MC DAID
There is some good news for residents and businesses in the Falcarragh area this morning after it emerged that Irish Water has agreed to expedite plans to replace the existing ageing mainswater network servicing the area.
The utility will meet with Donegal County Council next Wednesday (May 8) to outline how it plans to meet the supply needs of the area in the interim and ahead of these works being carried out.
The news has been welcomed by Sinn Féin Councillor John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh. However, he wants the company to come before a sitting of elected representatives to answer questions on how it plans to address supply issues in the interim and into the immediate future.
“As everyone is well aware, as chair of the Glenties Municipal District, I have been in regular contact with both the local authority and Irish Water to relay the unacceptable disruption to water services in Falcarragh and the surrounding areas," he said.
“These constant outages have left local homes and businesses without water for hours, with some having experienced service issues for several days at a time.
“Today, in responding to my earlier intervention where I wrote to the company to express the anger of the local community here, Irish Water has acknowledged that these disruptions to the local water supply due to frequent bursts are not acceptable, and that it is aware of the impact they are having on residents and business owners.
“The utility has stated that it agrees that replacing the local piping infrastructure is now a matter of urgency, and it has pledges to reprioritise the planned watermains replacement programme in the area to reflect this.
“I understand that design work on the scheme is due to get underway shortly, and Irish Water is set to begin consultation with the Council, contractors as well as the local community in advance of this work.
“Officials from the utility will be meeting with the Council this Wednesday to outline how it plans to resolve this issue, as well as how the supply needs of the town are to be met into the immediate future while we await this scheme to be completed.
"This pledge follows on from my earlier request in which I called on the company to meet with local business owners to hear directly from them and the impact this situation is having on them, and I still think it's crucial that this request is agreed to.
“I understand that all local elected representatives will receive a briefing on these plans also. However, I have asked when this will take place.
"Similarly, I am still demanding that the utility appears before a sitting of the Council to field questions from elected representatives and to outline what specific actions will be taken to keep these unacceptable disruptions to a minimum."