Uisce Éireann could face ‘corporate manslaughter’ charge – council told

UISCE ÉIREANN could be held responsible for “corporate manslaughter” if they fail to keep the country’s fire hydrants in proper working order.

That was the warning from Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McMonagle when he spoke on the issue during a debate at the  Letterkenny/Milford Municipal District meeting.

The council had received a long-awaited reply from the Minister for Housing, Heritage and Local Government confirming that Uisce Éireann is responsible for both the provision and maintenance of fire hydrants countrywide.


Cllr  McMonagle detailed the Minister’s response which read “As the national standalone public water utility, Uisce Éireann has statutory responsibility for the provision and maintenance of fire hydrants in Ireland.

“The upkeep and maintenance of these fire hydrants is an operational matter for Uisce Éireann.”

A fire hydrant connected to a standpipe key and bar showing a good supply of water and pressure ready for emergency services to use. Photo: Brian McDaid

Cllr McMonagle requested that the council now bring this letter from the minister to the attention of Uisce Éireann and request that they “immediately carry out an inspection of all fire hydrants in our MD to ensure that they are all fit for purpose and in working order.”

“It is now quite clear who is responsible. We had a number of incidents where the fire service responded to a call out and had issues with fire hydrants,” he said.

“If Uisce Éireann don’t respond in a timely manner they will be responsible for corporate manslaughter if something should happen.

“There needs to be regular inspections of fire hydrants. As a matter of urgency write to them and ask for a time line and get regular updates that fire hydrants are fit for purpose and have each and every one clearly marker,” Cllr McMonagle said.


Cllr Gerry McMonagle

Seconding the motion Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh said “it seems almost every recent fire there has been a problem. Recently the service had to go two to three miles to get a working hydrant.

“It is something Irish Water need to find a way to tackle. It is not good enough for the fire service to arrive and hydrants not working where a delay of a few minutes is critical. Irish Water are not taking it as seriously as they should,” Cllr Kavanagh said.

Cllr McMonagle told members and the executive members that they did not want a letter from Irish Water.
“We want a plan and reports on the work they have done,” he concluded.

In response the executive replied to the motion stating “The Council has written to Uisce Éireann to request an update on the Provision and Maintenance of Fire Hydrants in the Letterkenny/Milford Municipal District. Uisce Éireann’s response will be shared when received.”

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