News & Media

Galvin calls for Emergency Kildare County Council meeting over Irish Water

6 November 2019

Statement by Cllr Ciara Galvin

Cllr. Ciara Galvin of the Celbridge-Leixlip Municipal District has today (Wednesday 6th November) called for an emergency meeting of Kildare County Council on the matter of the ongoing Boil Water Notice situation. 

Cllr. Galvin is also calling for a representative of Irish Water to attend.

"Irish Water's handling of the current Boil Water Notice has been nothing short of disgraceful, particularly in Celbridge, and they have serious questions to answer.

"The dust has barely settled on the last crisis, and now we find ourselves in the middle of another one.

"To make it worse, yesterday they put out a map which indicated that certain areas of Celbridge - not affected by the last Boil Water Notice - were now affected.

"As soon as I became aware of this, around 13.45, I called them to see if the map was mistaken. They said the maps were correct, even though they were clearly ridiculous. The new boundary line cut through estates and even straight through some houses.

"I asked them were they sure the map was correct, because it would cause a huge amount of worry in the area if so, and I didn't want to worry people unnecessarily.

"They said it was, and that people in the zone marked affected should all observe the boil water notice. 

"I had to go by what the "experts" were telling me. I was very concerned that residents of estates like Primrose Gate, The Grove, Simmonstown Manor and Chelmsford Manor, wouldn't know they now had to boil water because they weren't affected last time, so I got the message out as fast as I could, on as many channels as I could.

"I then spent several hours responding to concerned constituents. One of the main concerns was how could an area that wasn't affected last time suddenly be affected, and were Irish Water just lying the last time?

"Then, suddenly, three hours later, Irish Water changed the map back to the boundaries from the last boil notice. I then had to let everyone in these areas know they weren't affected after all.

"The whole thing has been absolutely farcical. They wasted my time, they wasted the public's time, and they caused a huge amount of unnecessary worry which could have been avoided if they'd had the sense to use the same map as last time in the first place.

"I believe they changed the map of affected areas to cover themselves, but by changing it then changing it back all they really did was cause huge consternation in 'newly affected' areas, and undermine what little remains of people's trust in them. 

"How can anyone believe anything they say after this, is something several constituents have asked me."

Cllr. Galvin further stated:

"It's important that Irish Water attend to hear these concerns, but also because I have constructive suggestions for them on how they could and should improve the way they handle similar situations in the future and I'm sure other local reps do too.

"For example, there's far too much reliance on traditional and social media to broadcast the notice. I'm told that in the UK if something like this happens they don't just send a few text messages, they send out people in cars with loudspeakers around affected areas to make sure everyone knows about it.

"They also need to be far more upfront with the public about things like what exactly was and is in the water, and what symptoms should the public watch out for.

"And they need to develop the capacity to get clean water in clean containers out to affected areas for any future similar incidents. The water that was sent out in tankers during the last boil water notice had to be boiled anyway because they apparently can't sterilise the tankers. It made absolutely no sense.

"Finally, they need to tell us as public representatives what exactly they need I  order to fix the Leixlip plants so this won't happen again!"

Cllr. Galvin is seeking the support of her fellow councillors to ensure the emergency meeting goes ahead. She is currently two signatures short of having enough to call the emergency meeting. 

For more information, please call Cllr. Ciara Galvin, Labour councillor for Celbridge-Leixlip Municipal District, on 0863631583