Workers Party Councillor Ted Tynan said that the recent prolonged cold spell has exposed a huge level of non-compliance with building and planning standards with regard to water supply and said that local authorities including Cork City Council had failed to enforce the regulations properly, particularly with regard the depth of water pipes and stop-cocks.
The Workers’ Party councillor said that he had been contacted by dozens of householders whose water pipes or stopcocks had frozen because they had not been buried deep enough. He pointed out that regulations have existed for many years governing the depth of pipes and stopcocks but these had not been adhered to in many cases.
Cllr. Tynan said that the problem appears to be widespread in Cork City but he has also heard of people with the same problems throughout the country as far away as Westmeath and Kildare.
The Mayfield based councillor said that local authorities such as Cork City Council should pursue developers whose shoddy work has led to problems and expensive emergency works for the local authorities and has caused untold damage to homes, expense and inconvenience to householders. However he also stated that local authorities themselves have questions to answer on enforcement matters and Cllr. Tynan will be raising some of these questions at the next meeting of the city council.
“Building regulations have been flouted on a massive scale and there seems to have been a huge amount of leeway given to these developers. The cost of this is now being borne by cash strapped local authorities but in particular by householders and taxpayers who will have to pay the cost of the damage. This is yet another example of how property developers were allow ride roughshod over rules and regulations during the Celtic Tiger era. The chickens are coming home to roost but it is ordinary people who are being made carry the can”.
Cllr. Tynan said that the crisis showed the complete stupidity of the government’s plan to introduce water charges and spend over €1 billion on installing water meters. “It is not householders who are wasting water but the state itself which turned a blind eye to sharp practices in the property sector, just as they did in relation to banking. Proper enforcement of the regulations and pursuing developers who have cut corners should be the priority instead of attempting to use a water management crisis as an excuse to introduce an additional tax on the family home”, said Cllr. Tynan.
Issued 29th December 2010