OPW defend decision as video emerges of Papal Cross being washed during hosepipe ban

A video has emerged of the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park being washed in the midst of a domestic hosepipe ban in Dublin.

The ban came into effect at midnight, July 2, and prohibits the use of water drawn through a hosepipe.

The clip, taken by Niamh Bennett, shows a worker washing the structure from a cherry-picker.

A spokesperson for the OPW said the water used to wash the cross, which has not been cleaned in four years, was drawn a week before the hosepipe ban was put in place.

"A contractor was appointed by the Office of Public Works in June to clean down and paint the Papal Cross in advance of the World Meeting of Families event to be held in Phoenix Park on 26 August 2018.

"This work is deemed essential in advance of the substantial preparatory works required and the event itself as the Cross has not being painted in over four years.

Papal Cross

"The build works on site will commence at the end of July and the painting of the structure must be complete in advance of the start of the works.

"This event will be attended by approximately 500,000 people and viewed by millions from all around the world on television.

"The appointed contractor has being preparing for these works for the past number of weeks and used the minimum amount of water required for this work.

The water that was used was drawn off last week before Irish Water put in place a Water Conservation Order. The contractor has indicated that no further water is required for the remainder of the works.

It comes a day after an image was shared online of Dublin City Council workers power washing O'Connell Street.

Roisin Maguire, who shared the photo, added that it appeared the area from the Spire to the Rotunda Hospital had been washed yesterday morning.

Both instances have been criticised by the public, many of whom consider it a waste of water during the heatwave.

However, a council spokesperson said it is using canal water as part of its street cleaning service.

"Dublin City Council is making every effort to minimise water usage while at the same time trying to maintain a minimum level of service in the city," they said.

The ban which is currently in place refers to domestic hosepipes only. However, in response to the water restrictions for the Dublin area, the Council will be using canal water during this period to deliver a reduced street washing service.

"We will seek to maintain a minimum level of washing on the main pedestrian routes within the city and areas where there are high levels of social activity, particularly at weekends. This will be kept under close review.

"The Parks Service is endeavouring to maintain planters and floral displays with water sourced from the canals and the Basin, Blessington St."

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