North Cork concerns over water situation

North Cork concerns over water situation

Geraldine Hartnell pouring water from the water tanker provided by Cork County Council, for her neighbours Justine Cromhaught, Josephine O’Driscoll and
Charleen Bekker in Ballyhooly. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

AFTER close to a month of relying on water tankers, residents in Ballyhooly have been promised a pump installation in the coming weeks. But homeowners are worried that a temporary fix, while welcome, will delay the longer term solution, a proper upgrade to the pipes.

The recent drought brought a decade-long issue of water pressure in the north Cork village to a crisis point.

Many in the area were forced to rely on water tankers in the village for supply from early July, with the elderly and those with small children particularly struggling.

Following open meetings and the involvement of public representatives, Irish Water has confirmed the installation of a booster pump to improve water pressure.

Josephine O’Driscoll cautiously welcomed the plan.

“We are very grateful for what is being done and we will wait and see but I am still a bit wary to be honest,” she said.

“The pump is to be installed in the next three weeks but it is a short-term solution. There are 40 new houses going into Ballyhooly within the next 12 months so we are concerned that we will be put on the back boiler again. They do know that the pipes need to be replaced.” Local TDs Seán Sherlock and Kevin O’Keeffe, who met Irish Water in Dublin last week about the issue, echoed her concerns.

“We were well aware of the proposed installation of a booster pump as an interim solution before going into the meeting,” Mr Sherlock said. “However, we were anxious to impress upon Irish Water the need for capital investment in Ballyhooly so that a new pipe could be laid to meet the needs of those people in the village whose supply is patchy.”

“Booster pumps are fine in the short term but we need proper pipes in the ground so that no family gets left behind,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

Both TDs concluded that while there is sympathy for the plight of people in Ballyhooly within Irish Water there is no firm commitment on capital expenditure to put in new piping in the area to ensure water supply from the reservoir.

”Water shortages over the past number of years slipped under the radar and didn’t figure on Irish Waters priority list — we were given assurances that this is no longer the case,” Mr Sherlock said. “We are hopeful that our lobbying will help to prioritise Ballyhooly for funding. There is work to be done but it’s up to the government to start focusing on places like Ballyhooly.”

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