Irish Water to carry out major repairs in Cork

Irish Water plans to cut off water to large areas of Cork city overnight on Tuesday to repair a critical mains pipe at risk of bursting.

The company has identified a section of old water main, close to the site of a burst on Wednesday last which left 40,000 people without water, as being in poor condition. However, it said because of the location and nature of the repairs needed at Rose Hill, just north of the city’s Lee Road waterworks plant, it will have to cut water to parts of the city supplied from the Cork Lower Reservoir from 11pm on Tuesday until around 7am on Wednesday.

The disruption will affect about 35,000 people in roughly the same areas affected by Wednesday’s burst, including the city centre, Douglas Rd, South Douglas Rd, Boreenmanna Rd, Blackrock Rd, Ballinlough Rd, Barrack St, Bandon Rd, Sunday’s Well, Leitrim St, Gerald Griffin St, and Great William O’Brien, and surrounding areas.

The company said it will liaise, along with Cork City Council, with all “vulnerable customers”, including hospitals and other large users of water, to ensure the impact on them during the repairs can be managed and minimised.

“By carrying out this work in a controlled manner at night, Irish Water aims to minimise inconvenience to homes and businesses, while also preventing a situation similar to that which occurred during the week,” a spokesman said last night.

Wednesday’s outage hit the hospitality sector hardest, with dozens of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers forced to close for several hours. Fire crews had to deliver water to the Mercy University Hospital’s storage tanks and production at the Heineken Ireland brewery was disrupted.

Despite calls from business leaders, Irish Water has ruled out discounts for affected commercial customers. Traders including Claire Nash of Nash 19 restaurant, and Pat O’Connell, of O’Connell’s Fish in the English Market, reacted angrily to the company’s stance.

Ms Nash had repairmen on site yesterday and she said she has asked fellow restaurateurs to compile a list of repair costs they face arising out of damage caused to equipment, including coffee machines, filters, and refrigeration equipment, following the loss of water.

Mr O’Connell accused Irish Water of having a “blasé” attitude towards its customers in the city, adding: “If this happened in Dublin, there would have been war. It’s just not good enough when you’re paying for a service. You have to respect your customers.”

In a statement last night, Irish Water apologised in advance for any inconvenience that may be caused as a result of Tuesday’s work.

Company operations lead for Cork, Jim Fitzgerald, said: “Our priority in carrying out this essential work is to keep any disruption to residents and businesses to an absolute minimum.”

Customers are urged to run their cold tap until the restored water is clear, and before operating washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances.

Irish Water said it is investing more than €15m to replace more than 27km of ageing water mains in the city to provide a much more secure and reliable water supply.

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