Colm McCarthy pictured at his home at Bengal Terrace which was flooded last month - Picture: Adrian Butler
RESIDENTS at Bengal Terrace whose homes were flooded after a water mains burst almost six weeks ago have vowed to continue their efforts to seek compensation from Irish Water.
One of the residents – Colm McCarthy – who met with representatives of the State utility in Mallow this week has rejected their assertion that Irish Water is not responsible for the thousands of euro worth of damage which was caused.
Colm (28), his wife Cynthia and their daughter, Reegan (2), were placed in temporary accommodation for nearly two weeks after the incident as their semi-detached home could not be lived in.
While the hotel accommodation was paid for by Irish Water, it says it will not pay for the damage caused as it is not liable.
In a letter sent to Mr McCarthy, it cites provisions contained in the Water Services Act 2007 which, it says, means it cannot be held negligent "for simply failing to repair a burst pipe which has arisen as a result of natural wear and tear".
Colm, a self-employed landscaper, says he and his family have been living upstairs since returning to the house as the downstairs is not liveable.
The wooden flooring has been removed, electric fittings are exposed and water marks remain visible.
“The smell was unbearable so everything had to go. We even got rid of some children’s toys as we believe the water was contaminated,” said Colm who added that a brand new Ford Transit van he owned had to be written off as it was damaged by the flood waters.
While fully insured, Colm says he does not believe he or the other residents should be forced to lodge claims for the damage caused. “They say they are not liable and that they have done everything they can for us and that it’s a matter for our insurance companies,” he said.
Colm, who is awaiting replies to a number of Freedom of Information requests, says he believes the issue is a national one.
“This could happen to anybody around the country whose home is flooded when a pipe bursts and it needs to be sorted out because they are just hiding behind the legislation,” he said.
In a statement Irish Water says it continues to engage directly with the affected families to offer practical support in so far as it can but that it cannot comment on individual cases.