Flood of anger from Cork councillors after Irish Water no show

Snubbed county councillors in Cork yesterday vented their fury against Irish Water after the utility declined to send representatives to County Hall to discuss a serious water supply issue in East Cork.

Flood of anger from Cork councillors after Irish Water no show

Both Irish Water and the HSE had been invited to a meeting after a boil water notice had been put in place for up to eight months for thousands of people being served by the Whitegate/Dower regional supply system.

The HSE did send two senior officials.

Councillor Michael Hegarty (FG) said he was “very annoyed” that Irish Water did not see fit to send anybody while Councillor Mary Linehan Foley (Ind) said she was “appalled” by the snub.

Councillor Des O’Grady (SF) described it as “very poor form”.

The HSE’s Dr Anne Sheehan said around late December she had been notified by Irish Water about problems with the Whitegate supply and advised a boil water notice should be put in place.

She told Mr Hegarty the addition of chlorine to a supply kills E.coli and treating it with ultraviolet light also kills cryptosporidium.

However, she said storms around that time had made the water thicker and more coloured which would reduce the effectiveness of ultraviolet treatment. As a result, conditions prompted the boil water notice to be issued.

Councillor Danielle Twomey (SF), who lives close to the affected area, said she was disappointed with lack of information Irish Water was giving to the public while Councillor Noel Collins (Ind) said the problem was “causing much inconvenience to residents and the commercial sector”.

Dr Sheehan said the HSE was continually monitoring the problem. Ms Linehan Foley suggested councillors write to Irish Water saying the snub was unacceptable.

Irish Water did, however, send an email to councillors about what it intends to do with the scheme which supplies 10,392 people with 7m litres of water a day.

It is prioritising the installation of a new filtration system at the Kilvagh water treatment plant.

Once installed, Irish Water said it would request permission from the HSE to lift the boil water notice, but did not give a timeframe.

The company said it understands the inconvenience caused and its staff have met with customers in recent weeks, who outlined the impact on homes, schools, and businesses.

The utility said its long- term plan was to hook up to the Inniscarra water treatment plant which could take approximately three years to complete.

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