Ice-cream drought feared in Howth amid rising temperatures

North Co Dublin seaside town faces a dessert shortage as a result of power cuts

People enjoy the good weather in Howth, Co Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

People enjoy the good weather in Howth, Co Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

One of Ireland’s most popular seaside towns could find itself in the grip of an ice-cream shortage, on what is set to be one of the hottest summer days so far, due to power cuts.

Businesses and residents in parts of Howth in north county Dublin, have been warned by ESB Networks of planned outages between 9am and 5pm on Tuesday, when temperatures are set to hit 27 degrees.

While a number of affected businesses have said they will remain open and “hope for the best” others have said they will be forced to shut up shop, including popular ice-cream spot Ann’s of Howth at the East Pier.

“It kills me to close but we have no other option,” said Jonathan Cooke, who runs Ann’s.

“Obviously ice-cream won’t keep, but our coffee machine won’t work either. This is the sort of business where you have to make hay when the sun shines, and we could be down €2,500, if it’s a day like today.”

The nearby Abbey Tavern is also planning to close for lunch, but hopes it will be able to reopen in the evening.

“We have 110 people coming in for Irish coffee at 11am, and we can manage that because we can do it on the gas hob, but after that we’re going to the have to close the bar for food until 5pm,” said operations manger Alison O’Rourke.

Planned interruption

While the pub may not be affected by cuts for the full period, Ms O’Rourke said it would not be possible to stay open. “We’ve been told it’s a planned interruption. It could be cancelled, but we can’t commit to anything, we can’t take the risk that someone has ordered their lunch and then the power goes down in the middle of it being cooked.”

Ms O’Rourke said she has tried to contact the ESB to seek updated information on the planned cut, but has had no response.

“We received this letter on the 9th of July, we haven’t been able to get any information since. It’s a disgrace.This could cost us €3,000 or more, but in addition to that staff are losing shifts.”

The King Sitric restaurant at the East Pier also received the notification from the ESB but has decided to remain open.

“Hopefully we’ll have enough power to keep going. We find the ESB sends out these notifications and then nothing happens,” owner Joan McManus said. “When the weather is so beautiful, I think we have to persevere and adapt as best we can.”

While many parts of Howth will remain unaffected, in a statement, ESB Networks said approximately 130 customers in Howth village had been notified of a loss of electricity supply between 9am and 5pm on Tuesday.

“We acknowledge the obvious inconvenience this causes to customers and thank them for their co-operation. These essential planned outages are to facilitate the strengthening of the electricity network in the area, bringing greater reliability and resilience of supply to each customer,” it said.

“Unfortunately, such planned outages are required for important work across our electricity network.”