I have been shocked to read recent reports of lead concentration levels well above the legal limit in North Dublin drinking water, including in Cabra, Drumcondra and Phibsborough. Some tests have found lead concentrations nearly fifteen times over the legal limits. This is hugely concerning. Exposure to lead can affect brain development in children, and babies in the womb. It can also cause harm to kidneys and high blood pressure, and is classed as a probable carcinogen. Therefore it is vital that there is immediate redress found to this problem.
I recently asked the Government to set out, in detail, plans to resolve this issue in both the short term and longer term. I was informed that based on current available data, Irish Water estimates that lead pipework exists in approximately 180,000 residential properties in Ireland and that the vast majority of lead pipes are contained within properties built up to and including the 1970s.
The Minister for Housing told me that while Irish Water is responsible for the service pipe up to the property boundary; most lead pipes are within the property boundary and are the responsibility of the property owner. Irish Water has said that it will remove all lead in public supply pipes over the next ten years. They have also put in place an interim water treatment programme to protect consumers from lead exposure while this replacement programme is implemented. A grant scheme is available to assist owners of premises with the costs of replacing lead piping. The grant is administered by local authorities and information on how to apply for this grant is available at the following link: