Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Electricity Installations.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he is aware that the ESB informed the residents of Lissadell Estate, Dundrum, County Dublin that the passing of an installation by the Board simply means that it has complied with the required insulation tests and by no means implies that the work has been done in the best possible manner; if this in fact represents the position; and if he is satisfied that the requirements of the ESB are sufficient to ensure that there is no danger to the public.

I am aware that the Electricity Supply Board's General Conditions Relating to Supply provide that the passing of an installation by the Board simply means that it has complied with the required insulation tests and by no means implies that the work has been done in the best possible manner. The Board takes no responsibility in respect of testing a consumer's installation or for any loss or damage which may be occasioned by fire or by an accident arising from the state of the installation and the responsibility for all wiring on the consumer's side of the Board's main fuse rests solely between him and the electrical contractor who installs the wiring.

The ESB does not and cannot accept responsibility for the safety of electrical work carried out by contractors or individuals.

Is this not an amazing revelation, that the responsibility of the ESB stops at the fuse-box and with the payment of the money? I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary does he consider this is good enough from a semi-State body and does he not consider that in adopting this attitude he is condoning the action of the semi-State body in aiding and abetting in shoddy and inadequate installations, which is part of the general pattern of building gangsterism now proceeding in the suburbs of this city in which the homeless are being robbed? Would he not agree that there rests upon the ESB, as an alleged responsible semi-State body, an obligation to see that electrical installations in all parts of the house or of any building should be of such a nature as will at least avoid danger to life? Is that not a fundamental duty of a semi-State body such as the ESB?

A shocking sensation.

It is very difficult to answer——

A very simple question.

——a supplementary made by way of speech but the point about it is that it is not an amazing revelation because these are in the conditions laid down by the ESB for a long time. I am amazed that the Deputy was not aware of it.

Were you aware of it? Honestly?

I was always aware of the fact that I was responsible for the wiring in my own house.

Do not try to cod us. You were not aware of it until now.

Is it not a fact that the ESB have the responsibility to pass wiring as being safe and satisfactory before making connection?

Yes. They have to pass the installation, and they do that.

And in this case they have failed, obviously, to do that and the whole place is in serious trouble.

That has not by any means been established or suggested in the question.

It is established.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there has been lodged with the Department a detailed complaint from the residents of Lissadell Estate which contains 200 instances of faulty work, faulty electrical installations? Does he think that it is good enough that the ESB should shut their eyes to this and simply say : "All we want out of you is your money and the rest is your own business"?

And cut you off if you do not pay.

And even before the due date, in some instances.

Could the Minister say if the work was done by trade union labour? If so, it is a terrible reflection on the trade unionists by the Labour Party.

It may be upon the man who built the houses.

Deputy Dowling might address that remark to one of his colleagues not far from him, the employer in question. It is very questionable that it was done by trade union labour. The Deputy should not interfere in things about which he knows nothing. He might hear more than he would like to hear. We know what they were calling him when he was trying to become a trade union official. His fellow-workers turned him down.

We know what you did when they turned you down.

I am a trade unionist, of which I am very proud.

I do not know for what.