Independent review of response to Drogheda water emergency needed

27 July 2017

Louth & East Meath Labour Senator Ged Nash has written to the Minister for Housing & Local Government calling for the establishment of an independent review into Irish Water’s handling of the Drogheda water supply emergency.

The time-limited review should be chaired by an expert engineer from outside of Ireland and who has experience in managing large scale crisis operations.

“As the water supply to Drogheda tentatively returns, Irish Water must be held to account on their handling of the response to a crisis that has cast the spotlight on the company’s ability to respond to and manage emergencies of this scale.

“Why did it take Irish Water five days into the crisis to collectively brief local Oireachtas members and Councillors? Why did it take days to mobilise the Defence Forces and other agencies under State control? Why did it take several days to get water tankers to areas that were almost entirely cut off from the water supply? Why was there no street-by-street response? Why does the organisation appear to have no plan to service customers who have registered with them as vulnerable.

“These are just some of the questions that need to be answered by Irish Water to reassure the public that lessons have been learned from this crisis and will be applied when the next crisis hits.

“This review cannot be an inside job, and should not be led by Irish Water itself or the Department of Housing and Local Government.

“Public utilities receive taxpayers’ money and we are entitled to expect the highest standards of service, communications and transparency from such public bodies.

“Put simply, public bodies are required to be held accountable for their actions.

“An independent review and examination of Irish Water’s response to the crisis is critical to the restoration of trust in an organisation that has badly damaged itself over the last week.”

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