Divers repair pipe supplying water to Sherkin

Specialist divers were brought in to repair a broken pipe which supplies water to islanders living off the south-west coast.

A Cork County Council spokesman it was believed that the pipe, which brings water from Skibbereen to Sherkin Island, was severed by a vessel.

“The [underwater] pipe is situated in a narrow, shallow channel and we think it may have been damaged by a passing vessel,” the council spokesman said.

The incident happened on Tuesday and the divers started the repair work early yesterday.

In the meantime, the council organised a tanker to be taken by ferry over to the island to supply water. “We also organised a leaflet drop to let people know what was happening,” the spokesman said.

“We had to employ specialist divers to fix the pipe. Fortunately the weather was good for them.”

Aisling Moran, a community worker on Sherkin, praised the council for the speed with which it reacted to the problem.

She said there were about 100 people on the island at this time of year. If the break had happened in the summer, many more people would have been affected as there are a large number of holiday homes on Sherkin.

“It’s difficult for some of the older people who haven’t got transport to get down to the pier, so we were organising the community to get water to them,” said Ms Moran.

She said some houses still had a drip of water because there were small reservoirs on the island, “but they wouldn’t have enough for showers”.

The council spokesman said it was hoped that the repair work would be completed quickly.

He said he did not know yet how much this would cost, but that it would be more expensive than a mains break on land.

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