Business leaders in Cork have called for a discount in commercial water bills after a burst main forced several businesses to close and left 40,000 people without water.
Cork Business Association chief executive, Lawrence Owens, led calls last night for Irish Water to arrange discounts for those firms affected by the major outage.
“It is hard to quantify the loss to businesses arising out of this fault. Water is essential for many businesses, especially those in the hospitality trade, and most of them had to close for a time yesterday. They are paying for a service and reliability,” said Mr Owens.
Restaurateur Claire Nash said the army should have been deployed on the streets to distribute water. She also criticised a lack of communication in the early stages of the outage: “It was a disaster. This fault has damaged coffee machines, air-conditioning units and ice-machines... The city needs to have a policy on how it deals with crises like this.”
Dozens of pubs, restaurants, hair salons and coffee shops lost morning and lunch trade, others closed early losing dinner trade, and hotels had to close toilets and distribute bottled water to guests, after a major arterial supply pipe serving the low-lying areas of the city burst at around 10am.
Two hospitals triggered contingency plans, Cork City Fire Brigade delivered water to the Mercy University Hospital to top up its storage tanks, and production at the Heineken Ireland brewery was temporarily affected.
Irish Water apologised to its customers and said it responded as quickly as it could once the fault was identified.
Irish Water and Cork City Council apologised for the disruption and defended how it communicated with the public.
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