DEMANDS have been made for the immediate replacement of cancer-causing asbestos water pipes in a Stradbally housing estate.
At a recent meeting of Graiguecullen/Portarlington Municipal District, Laois County Council confirmed that the 800-metre asbestos cement water pipes serving Church Avenue “are indeed in poor condition, bursting a minimum of five times a year”.
In a written reply to local councillor Paschal McEvoy’s demand for the pipes to be immediately replaced, senior engineer Michael O’Hora said: “It has repeatedly been referred to Irish Water for full replacement and is now listed by them as high priority for replacement and one of five water mains next on the list, but not yet approved for replacement in 2020.”
Cllr McEvoy said he was appalled to learn that the pipes are made from asbestos cement.
He said: “People there are up in arms over this. The leaks have been going on for over ten years. I’m calling on the council to get the job done straight away. The pipe system there is crumbling. Every week there’s a leak. Asbestos is deadly, deadly dangerous. I demand it’s seen to straight away.”
“I am absolutely disgusted to hear this,” said cllr Ben Brennan. “Irish Water has neglected this for years and for some reason is reluctant to replace the pipes. These asbestos pipes pose a very serious health risk to the people living there.”
Cllr Tom Mulhall said: “Asbestos was used in Noah’s time. It is highly dangerous when broken. Asbestos is deadly poisonous. It used to be used in the roofing of hay sheds. It has to be taken down by specialised professionals, stored and sealed and shipped out of Ireland. Asbestos poses very serious health issues.”
Director of services Gerry Murphy said: “Asbestos is cancer causing.”