THIS is the future that awaits householders across the country as water meters are installed.
Blocked footpaths, unfilled holes, hazards to children and cars unable to get in and out are just some of what homeowners can expect when Irish Water arrives in their area.
Residents of the Charlemont Estate on Dublin’s northside are furious that construction work on their road is taking much longer than expected and they feel children are being put in danger by the work.
Local mother Noleen Deehan said some occupants have been unable to drive out of the estate because construction crews are blocking the way.
“They’ve been in the estate since the October bank holiday weekend and it’s causing serious disruption.
“During the week we were trapped in our own homes because a cement truck was delivering cement and the road was blocked. Residents were stuck in their houses until the truck was finished doing its work.
“They’ve been on our road since last Friday week and we thought it would take around three or four days, but they’re still not finished more than a week later.
“There are a lot of young children in the estate. They have to go out into the middle of the road if they’re going anywhere.
“There were holes around three feet deep which kids could have fallen into. There were panels over them, but they’re supposed to be screwed in. They didn’t bother doing that so kids could easily lift them.
“I contacted Irish Water and eventually they filled in the holes with gravel, but they still have to be compressed and concreted.
“Kids are climbing on everything that’s lying around. Residents have nowhere to park. It’s a nightmare.”
Noleen also said she was surprised the workers carrying out the installation were from the UK.
“The crew who are here are all from England and come over on the ferry.
“They stay in a hotel during the week and they’re gone by 12pm on Friday to get the ferry back home. I can’t understand why Irish people weren’t given the jobs.”
Local Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis said it was disappointing that jobs were not going to workers living in Ireland.
“With the tendering process they have – which we unfortunately signed up for in Europe [EU] – anybody can tender no matter where they’re from. It’s disappointing that they haven’t got local people involved and get people off the dole.”
The TD added that there will be an upsurge in protests and resistance to the installation of water meters when they try to move into strong working class areas. He also said spending what could be up to €2billion on water meters was “lunacy”.
“We’re spending that and we haven’t even got a proper water supply. We have leakage in some areas of up to 40 per cent. We also have outdated lead pipes in some areas that should have been replaced. It’s a disaster.”
By Alan Sherry