It costs thousands of euros for new homeowners to connect to water and sewerage mains in Laois and a councillor is asking Irish Water to come before them and explain why.
The prices for a single house start at €2,272 for watermains and €3,929 for sewerage, rising rapidly for every extra metre of pipe.
This and the management of private pumping stations require answers in person from the company, says Cllr Willie Aird from Portlaoise.
“I thank them for their online meetings, you ring and you do get a service. But we need to talk to the persons who say we are charged so much for water and sewerage. I ask, how did they come up with the figures?
“People all think Laois County Council is charging this, it’s not, we’re a collecting service now.
“To be fair to builders, people think they’re all well off, a builder puts this price onto the house price. The amount of money looked for is outrageous.
“On pumping stations, what is the situation going forwards? Keys are handed to people building on a site, you can’t have that. And you have to ensure that if another 60 houses are added that the station has capacity,” he said.
Fellow Portlaoise Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald seconded his motion requesting an Irish Water rep to come to the next council meeting.
“This is important. We need a lot of infrastructure from Irish Water for our town to progress. We need a serious conversation on who is responsible for funding this. It’s not just for housing, its for business and commercial growth. Portlaoise really needs this, I’d love to see what their plans are for the future, infrastructure is vital.
“We had a few weeks of good weather and half the town had its water turned off. Water is the most precious thing for us to develop,” Cllr Fitzgerald said.
Homes off Mountmellick road in Portlaoise suffered the most said Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley.
“We have a growing population, we need to ensure we have proper facilities in place. The council is a subcontractor to Irish Water but we need direct contacts,” she said.
Cllr Ben Brennan says the cost of services is “turning people away from building a house”.
“Their CEO said recently that their service agreement with county councils is no longer fit for purpose. I want someone senior not just a presentation,” agreed Cllr James Kelly.
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