For this Council to engage with Roscommon County Council to explore potential areas for mutual cooperation particularly regarding infrastructural resources, namely water and sewerage services with a view to improved service levels and potential cost saving opportunities on both sides.
Neighboring councils in my view should explore and establish a ‘joint-up-thinking’ approach to their infrastructural resources and manpower.
For example; as I understand it in parts of this town, close to the county boundary with Roscommon – the underground infrastructure that carries water for both authorities run very close to one another and the same is true for sewerage lines.
So, for example take water, it has been a massive issue in this town and one that I believe Roscommon could help if we needed them to and there are areas that we can help Roscommon too which I will come back to. Just think back to the last two winters, also the issues in the Coosan area – burst pipes, insufficient levels in our reservoirs, major water outages and in some cases for weeks.
As I understand it Roscommon has a very powerful and robust supply of water, if our lines were linked it could just be a case of switching on a valve to give a temporary boost enabling us to reach the critical levels in our reservoirs more quickly, thus reducing the down time.
Also, what is to stop both Councils having a manpower support agreement? So for example again in times of crises like the Coosan outages what would be wrong with Roscommon engineering personnel coming in to assist in what was very time consuming, technical work to speed up the restoration of water to homes and businesses.
I’ve just taken water as an example, but this is not intended to be a one way deal, where Roscommon would be our safety net for problems, no it needs to work both ways and I believe that there are areas that we too can assist Roscommon for example in relation to maintenance, shared manpower, road gritting, signage etc..
I believe that there is a willingness on both sides to consider this approach so I would call on this council and WCC to take the initiative and engage with Roscommon. First of all we should prepare a proposal document and develop a firm and realistic agenda from this proposal document and let this be the basis for the meeting. Item no 1 on the agenda must be the water interconnector that would join our water supplies giveing each side greater assurance in relation to continuation of supply.
I think the two mayors should also attend any such meeting and they can then feed back to the members.
Bare in mind that the Dept. of Env. Community and Local Govt. strongly recommends mutual cooperation at every possible level. Our infrastructures lie side by side whether its under the road or over the road, if times like this don’t drive us to think outside the box and explore opportunities to improve services and reduce costs then nothing will ever change. In my view the time is right, the benefits to both authorities are clear and it makes good sense.