One Lakepoint resident has taken out his water meter and posted it back to Irish Water.
Angry householder Dermot Murphy told the Westmeath Examiner last Friday afternoon that he had decided to take out the meter that was installed on June 19, as it had been installed despite him informing Irish Water, by letter and on the phone, that they did not have his consent to do so. He says that he also informed the foreman of the crew contracted to install the meter.
“Irish Water can put in the water meter at your home and if you say nothing, that is called a tacit agreement, but in the letters that I sent I told them that I was not giving my consent... They have no contract with me because I have not given my consent.”
Mr Murphy, who says that he knows of at least 50 other householders in Mullingar who are going to follow his example, says that he is prepared to go to court to argue his case, and believes that he has a sound legal argument.
“They might make an example of me and bring me to court and I’ll go. I’ll tell the judge that I never gave any consent. I have the letters here and I have the telephone conversation. The foreman (of the installers) also said that he’d bypass my house. The judge has to rule in my favour.
“They would have to show me the legislation that they can put in a meter outside my home without my consent. There isn’t any. I’ve checked it out. Under consumer and contract law to put anything in at your home, or to sell you anything, they have to supply documentation. They haven’t given me anything.”
Mr Murphy added that he is opposed to the introduction of water charges as the funds raised “will be used to pay the bond holders”.
“I want to know how is my water going to be improved by putting this meter in. Is it going to remain at the same pressure? Is it going to remain the same stuff that I couldn’t drink for the last 12 years and if so, why do I have to pay for it?
“If they are going to put this in, I want value for my money... I’ve sent that [the water meter] back in one piece because I haven’t given my consent for it.”
Mr Murphy sent the water meter back to Irish Water’s Cork headquarters by registered mail on Friday afternoon after he spoke to the paper. He added that he will be invoicing the semi-state body for the cost of the postage.
“I’ve done everything legally on my side. If they want to take me court, they can, because I have backing behind me. A lot of people are taking them out in Dublin.”
Mr Murphy, who stressed that he has nothing against the staff that are installing the water meters, says that one of the reasons he decided to speak to the Westmeath Examiner was to raise awareness that there are locally-based people who are opposing the introduction of water charges.
“They are tearing like mad to get these in, usually when people are at work so that no one will confront them. The whole reason they are putting these in is to pay bond holders. This has nothing do with services.”