Boiler checks cancelled for 2012
A Cork City resident who is housed by Cork City Council has told the Cork Independent that his boiler hasn’t been serviced in over two years, in the same week that Cork City Council deferred servicing for the rest of 2012 to save money.
“I can’t remember the last time my boiler was serviced,” said the resident, who wished to keep his identity secret for fear of a backlash from the City Council.
“They told me about 18 months ago to do it myself, but with all the bills and everything I just can’t afford it. They're a total disgrace in leaving gas issues off so lightly. Gas is so dangerous in the case of leaks where an explosion could happen.”
The resident in question was also was critical of the speed with which the Council responds to Council houses where events go awry.
“We had a blocking in the shore where sewerage started coming up through the ground. It took two or three days for the council to come out, where it turned out there was a pipe lodged under the ground.”
The resident was also critical of the council cutting €200,000 from the housing budget, saying that a cut in the Lord Mayor’s salary would have been far more effective in at least stemming the amount of cuts in other departments.
“Ten per cent is not a lot. It should have been at least half.”
A local gas installer described how most people are ignoring the boiler service requirement because they simply cannot afford to pay the costs.
“There is a law that rental properties must be serviced once a year,” said Barry Murphy, of Barry Murphy Gas Suppliers.
“The cert only covers 12 months so if there is an issue then Bord Gáis will seal off the gas until the boiler is serviced by a registered installers. However, so many people are leaving their boilers until there is a problem with it or it breaks.”
Mr Murphy urged people to use installers that have been recommended by people they know, and not based on “fancy websites.”
“When I started in 2002, there were 30 gas installers in Cork. There are now 385 and quite a lot of them may have the basic teachings of the job but don’t have the experience. Most of my work these days is being called out to repair the work done by other installers like valves not properly checked, etc.”
The boiler service deferral was deeply criticised on Monday at the council meeting by Sinn Féin’s Cllr Thomas Gould, who highlighted Bord Gáis regulations that a boiler should serviced at least once a year.
“Have we risk assessed this decision at all?” asked Mr Gould.
“Anyone in business will tell you that before you make a decision you must ask yourself, ‘can we make this decision?’ What this will mean is that some people will not have their boiler serviced for three years, and a lot of the stock we have in houses would not be new and I’m concerned on the decision taken by the manager on health and safety reasons.”
Mr Gould also called the decision a cancellation rather than a deferral, and warned that the Council is playing with people’s lives.
Fine Gael’s Cllr Des Cahill insisted that the majority of cuts were being made on savings officials had made over the past 12 months in City Hall but acknowledged that some programmes had to be cut because of the poor returns of the household charge.