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Irish Water refuses to help Castlebar woman in ‘pure hell’


DAILY CHORE Tina McGreal’s morning routine includes rodding her sewers so that she can avoid the worst of regular sewerage overflows. Tina is pictured at her home in Castlebar with local councillor, Michael Kilcoyne.

Sewerage blockages causing effluent to seep into back garden

Michael Gallagher

A Castlebar frontline worker is ‘living a life of pure hell’ due to ongoing blockages in her sewerage system, leaving her unable to use her toilets properly and causing effluent to seep into her back garden.
For the past year, Tina McGreal’s morning routine includes rodding her sewers so that she can avoid the worst of the regular overflows, which are clearly evident on her property at Turlough Road.
“I’m at my wits end. I cannot sleep at night thinking about it,” she told The Mayo News. “I try and clear it myself every morning, but that’s not even good enough, and I’ve had the plumber here every ten days for the past few months.
“Nobody should have to live like this and I cannot get it off my mind. I have two toilets in the house, but can only use one of them and even then, when visitors come, I have to explain to them that they must put the used toiletpaper in the bin instead of down the toilet. I truly am living a life of pure hell.”
Ms McGreal works as a healthcare assistant in Mayo University Hospital’s Emergency Department. Her plight was highlighted at this week’s meeting of Castlebar Municipal District, when Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said he has lost all confidence in Irish Water.
“I always said things like this would happen when it was set up in the first place. In my view Irish Water isn’t fit for purpose.”
Later, at Ms McGreal’s home, Cllr Kilcoyne explained the situation to The Mayo News.
“The problem is in the sewer connecting Tina’s house to the main line. Irish Water are of the opinion that it has nothing to do with them, even though the problem is not on Tina’s property and is actually well out under the very busy main road.
“In reality, Irish Water are saying that Tina must dig up the main road here in the town and fix the problem herself. This is a scandal and an absolute impossibility.
“If all this was still in council hands, the job would be done months ago, but Irish Water has been cutting back on all these things and telling consumers it’s nothing to do with them and to fix it themselves.
“Nobody in the State should be treated like this, and the fact that Tina is a frontline worker in Castlebar Hospital makes it even more scandalous. I’ve been in contact with Irish Water for months on this and the problem is as bad as ever,” the councillor added.

Denial of responsibility
An Irish Water spokesperson told The Mayo News that their local operations team attended the site following complaints from Ms McGreal and Cllr Kilcoyne.
“After examining the network it was deemed that there were no issues with the public sewer, which was operating satisfactorily. The public network is the remit and responsibility of Irish Water, and the issue mentioned appears to relate to the private side connection.”
This response is of little consolation to Ms McGreal. She recently hired a private company to complete a camera assessment of the sewer. The results, which have been supplied to Irish Water and The Mayo News, show that the blockage occurs 7.7 meters from the property, under the local roadway. This leaves her in a desperate situation.
“If I won the lotto I’d try and dig up the road and fix it myself, but how can an ordinary woman like me start digging up a main road in the middle of Castlebar?”