Water mains hotline leaves councillors high and dry

A dedicated “hotline” to deal with water mains’ breaks in Co Cork is not so hot, county councillors have claimed.

Members of the public — including a county councillor reporting issues — are losing their patience with the emergency line.

Some people, it was claimed, had stayed on the hotline for 30 minutes — without a response.

Council management conceded there had been some problems.

Buttevant-based Cllr Ronan Sheehan (Lab) said he gave up after 26 minutes trying to get through to report a leak. He said: “I don’t believe it’s working the way we were told,”

Cllr Noel O’Connor (FG), who lives in Mallow, said he had a similar experience.

The centralised call system was recently launched by council chiefs.

“After around 25 minutes, I still hadn’t got through. Much has been said about how this is the best system, but this was on a Wednesday afternoon and I’ve experienced this type of thing more than once,” Cllr O’Connor said.

Cross-party annoyance at the reporting system continued when Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF) described the delay in getting through to an operator as “pretty annoying”.

The council’s director of services, Katherine Walshe said all emergency calls now went to a council-run contact centre which was manned 9am-5pm weekdays. She said outside those hours and at weekends the calls were routed to a private company through a 1850 number.

“From Jan this year, 5,200 calls were answered by the contact centre. Average call (waiting) time is 2.7 minutes. The external company took nearly 300 calls.

However, she promised to talk with senior council management to see if improvements could be made.


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