A water feature to forget


A chara, – Few, walking down Dublin’s O’Connell Street, notice the statue of Sir John Gray, at the junction with Abbey Street. The plaque beneath gives his dates (1815-1875).

Gray was an alderman in Dublin corporation, responsible for the delivery of Dublin’s first major drinking water supply project, from the river Vartry in Wicklow.

Still fewer people are aware that 150 years later, that same, unchanged Victorian engineering still delivers a substantial proportion of drinking water to our nation’s capital.

Almost nobody realises (though the information is available to all in Engineers Ireland’s critical infrastructure reports) that in the intervening years many of the repairs to our water infrastructure have employed the use of asbestos piping. Nobody know the costs of this in terms of curtailed lives and unexplained cancers.

Populist politicians, instead of posing for photo opportunities beside marching masses, would serve our citizens better by considering the public health consequences of neglecting water infrastructure.

If they take the time to fully consider the implications of their actions, perhaps, in 150 years’ time, we will be failing to notice statues of Mary-Lou McDonald or Richard Boyd Barrett as we walk down Dublin’s main thoroughfare. – Is mise,



Co Cork.