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Meeting demanded over water hike

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CRITICISM Cllr Damien Ryan criticised Irish Water at council meeting

Councillors warn Irish Water they will not be silenced on water charges issue

Anton McNulty

Councillors have vowed to organise the public to oppose increased water charges for non-domestic customers if Irish Water continues to refuse to meet with them.
Irish Water have been accused of treating Mayo County Council with contempt in its refusal to address the local authority to answer questions on the increases.
The water-charge hike has been approved by the Commissioner for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
Last year, many councillors expressed concern, arguing the new charges would ‘force small businesses over the edge’. The Council wrote to both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing outlining its dissatisfaction.

‘Dismayed’
At yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting of Mayo County Council, Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan expressed his annoyance at the response from both the Taoiseach and the Minister.
“I am dismayed by the response to put it mildly. The Taoiseach has referred it to the Minister for Housing and as far as he is concerned it is a foregone conclusion. As far as I am concerned this is only beginning,” he said, before adding that it is time for the politicians and the public to organise to oppose the ‘unfair charges’.
“Now that we are open for business again, mass meetings and gatherings will become the order of the day in relation to an unfair charge that has been attached on non-domestic users.
“We need to change tack here as public representatives, and we need to get organised, and the farming organisations and people of the county need to get behind us. The Department are not prepared to meet us, Irish Water is not prepared to meet us and they think this will go away. Well go away we will not,” he addressed the meeting.

‘Contempt’
Cllr Ryan received cross-party support for his comments, with Fine Gael councillor Jarlath Munnelly saying that if Irish Water refuses to speak to them he will forward a motion urging that they be reported to the CRU.
“We have made a simple request for Irish Water to come and address our concerns on this issue. They are a state body and they are ignoring us and the treatment they are giving us is disgraceful for want of a better word.
“If there is no progress on this another course of action open to this council is going directly to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. I would be happy to bring a motion requesting that Mayo County Council complain to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities about the behaviour of Irish Water in ignoring this councils very simple request to address our concerns in relation to metering.”
Fellow Fine Gael councillor John O’Hara accused Irish Water of treating landowners with ‘contempt to the highest standard’ and that accused the water utility body of not having the manners to speak to them.

 

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