Irish Water presents Donegal family with €66k bill after husband spends two years building dream home

Irish Water presents Donegal family with €66k bill after husband spends two years building dream home

A Donegal family cannot move into their dream home after Irish Water demanded more than €66,000 to install a water connection at their home.

Danny Boyle has spent the past two years building the house in the Gortahork in the West Donegal gaeltacht.

Mr Boyle and his partner are anxious to move into the property with their 18-month-old child.

However, Irish Water has demanded a total of €66,700 for all the works to place a 270-metre water pipe into the new house.

The bill includes €7,000 for the company to dig up the street to tap into a connection on the mainline.

Mr Boyle said he simply cannot afford the huge bill, but without water, he cannot move in.

He said: "We have spent the past two years building the house and we are at the stage of putting in the stairs.

"We have been so looking forward to moving in and then we got this bill from Irish Water.

"At first I thought it was a joke or a mistake but this is what they want to put in a three-quarter-inch water pipe into our home and to tap into the supply.

"We simply cannot afford it and we cannot move into a house which does not have any water supply."

Mr Boyle, along with local county councillor Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, met with representatives from Irish Water yesterday in a bid to resolve the matter.

However, Mr Boyle said that Irish Water refuses to budge on the price of the connection.

I thought that when we secured the meeting that we could agree to something but they refuse to move on the connection fee.

"I simply cannot get my hands on that kind of money and as it stands I cannot move into the house," he added.

Councillor Mac Giolla Easbuig said that having met with senior Irish Water management, the Boyle family are no further forward.

He said they have been left with three choices, none of which are acceptable.

"They can emigrate, go to the bank and look for another €70,000 or they can move into a house without water.

"None of these options is acceptable and Irish Water have it in their power to help this young family. They are now further forward and this is not acceptable but I am not giving up on this," he said.

He added that the problems facing the Boyle family will only deter other families from moving back to Ireland and setting up home here because of the huge costs now associated with getting water connections.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said the standard charge for connections in the vicinity (within 10 metres) of the existing public network is €2,272.

However, where new infrastructure is required such as mains extension to provide a service to the applicant’s property, Irish Water will undertake a detailed design to identify the project requirements.

They say that site surveys and investigations may also be required, including engagement with statutory authorities such as the local authority to procure a road opening license.

The following additional works will be required as part of the delivery project:

Materials required to complete the extension:

  • Excavation in all surface categories, temporary and permanent reinstatement in all surface categories;
  • Works required for connection to the distribution or trunk water main/main sewer, commissioning and testing;
  • Traffic management, road opening licence and associated cost, night time working hours, liaison with local authorities and agencies.

Although Irish Water said they cannot comment on individual cases, the €66,700 charge put on the Boyle family to connect to the water mains is as a result of these requirements, they said.

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