RENUA Ireland leader, Cllr John Leahy has warned Irish Water he will be demanding explanations for the post Storm Emma water shortage debacle at the next Offaly Council meeting.

Cllr Leahy said:

‘”Taxpayers must be concerned by the difficulties Irish Water faced in dealing with these short-term weather conditions, which were well forecast.

Yes, Storm Emma posed the emergency and frontline services with serious challenges.

But Irish Water in Offaly and nationwide, however, appear to be the only service which struggled to respond adequately and appropriately.

We have had worse weather events in recent years and the service did not fail in the way that it has to date.

We know many of our pipes are ancient, corroded, full of holes and generally not fit for purpose.

But, there did seem to be an element of special pleading, of using bad weather to bury their own failings in the Irish Water response.

I shall be demanding answers at the next council meeting on this issue.

Irish Water’s excuses are rung out. People for example are not using too much water. On average, Irish people use less water than households in the UK.’’

Mr Leahy added:

“I am particularly concerned over the management of the replacement of the ageing water mains that commenced in Geashill and in Rhode.

Irish Water should appear before the Council and assure us that old damaged service connections have been finished. It is hard to accept that reservoirs are at such a low level given the amount of rainfall we have had over this winter and yet Irish Water are rationing and turning off water to rural communities and villages all across south Laois which are supplied from the Wolfhill reservoir.

The people of Laois-Offaly deserve a break from short-term water shut offs which evolve into long term rationing and cuts.

Irish Water needs to explain in a democratic forum that they are up to speed on this critical issue and that they are capable of coping with such events.

A clean, safe and reliable public water supply now and into the future to support our growing population and economy is a vital necessity rather than a luxury. The question is, are Irish Water up to the job?”