Irish Water denies Dublin meter installations to stop this week

Sinn Féin TD claims group of installers have been laid off with no further work

Irish Water has denied water meter installations will come to an end in Dublin this week.

The utility company spoke out following Sinn Féin’s claims a group of water meter installers had been told there will be no further work for them in the capital after Friday.

Irish Water, which has a target to install another 500,000 water meters at every home in the State, said there had been postponements "on occasion" on some sites due to protests.

Laois–Offaly TD Brian Stanley, Sinn Féin's spokesman for the environment, claimed he had learned that about half of the water meter installers working for GMC Sierra Limited, one of the four main regional contractors installing meters for Irish Water, have been told there would be no more work for them in Dublin after Friday.

“From information that I have received, it would appear that Sierra, the main contractor for the installation of water meters in Dublin, has told sub-contractors that they will no longer be engaged after Friday this week,” he said.

“The hold up in the metering programme has led to large added costs which is no longer sustainable to the company.”

Mr Stanley said one of the reasons he was told was a dispute between Irish Water and GMC Sierra Limited over who is liable to pay for security for workers installing meters.

GMC Sierra Limited said they do not make comments to media.

Irish Water said in a statement metering had not come to a halt in Dublin city and the programme was three months ahead of schedule.

“In order to guarantee the safety of metering crews and members of the public, metering works have, on occasion, been postponed on specific sites by the contractors due to the nature of protestor activity,” it said. “There has been no withdrawal from any region, Dublin included.”

In response to whether water meter installers have been laid off, an Irish Water spokeswoman said it could not comment on the specifics of its contracts with third parties for confidentiality reasons.

She said how contractors manage their contractual obligations in relation to meter installations is “a matter for contractors themselves”.

She said there were 1,383 direct jobs sustained from the metering programme in December 2014.

The company announced the creation of 1,600 direct jobs from the programme in July 2013.

The spokeswoman said the metering programme was ahead of schedule, with 9,463 meters installed nationwide, including Dublin city, last week.

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is an Irish Times journalist