Hotline to speed up water pipe repairs breaks down

A dedicated hotline set up by a local authority to speed up repairs of broken water pipes did not work — because its phonelines were over capacity.

Cork County Council officials yesterday admitted to a glitch in their new centralised reporting system, which was supposed to speed up repairs.

This emerged after Cllr Donal O’Rourke (FF) maintained that centralising the system was actually slowing down repairs.

In one case, he said a pipe was not fixed until the following day and officials said this had come about because of the hotline glitch.

“I’m consistently opposed to the increasing centralisation of services. I’m not convinced this is working,” he said.

Council officials told him the glitch would be fixed before the end of the month.

However, that did not stop other councillors continuing to express their concerns about the new policy.

“I don’t think we should be so quick to embrace centralisation of services,” said Cllr Danny Crowley (FF).

Cllr Jerry O’Sullivan (FG) said that recently, there had been a break in a water main on the side of a mountain near Ardgroom.

He said that under the centralisation policy, no local workers were allowed touch it.

“An engineer had to travel from Skibbereen all the way out to Ardgroom to inspect a main before a crew could come out to repair it. There are too many rules and regulations with this [new policy].”

Cllr Dermot Sheehan (FG) said he also has a problem with centralisation.

“Cork is one-eighth of landmass of the country and we’ve three huge peninsulas.

“It’s conceivable there could be a break in the mains in Crookhaven during the height of the tourism season and that somebody [an engineer] would have to drive out there from Bandon to inspect it,” he said.

“The old system we had [of locally orchestrated repairs] worked extremely well.”

Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) said he simply could not understand why the centralised system was set up when the hotline was not properly in place.

“That to me is a crazy system. Imagine if you rang a doctor or an ambulance and the number wasn’t available, That sends out alarm signals if you ask me,” he said.

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