Louth-Meath burst water main prompts ‘Russian roulette’ fears

Normal supply back but confidence damaged in pipeline serving thousands of homes

Normal water supply has returned to residents of Louth and east Meath following a major pipe rupture last week but fears remain as to the "Russian roulette" threat of another incident.

Concerns have been heightened given the expected arrival of about 300,000 people to the Fleadh Cheoil in Drogheda this August and the impact another break in the pipe could have.

"The problem is it's like Russian roulette. You are up every morning and you are not sure if it [THE PIPE]is going to last," said Meath Fine Gael councillor Gerry O'Connor, who confirmed normal services had fully returned on Tuesday.

Confidence has been damaged given the location of the latest pipe failure, about 20 miles from a major burst last year that households and businesses without water for days.


The pipeline serves thousands of homes in Drogheda, Co Louth and east Co Meath.

Repairs last week were fast and successful but a full refit is now required.

“There is no guarantee that it won’t go again, or somewhere else on the line,” said Cllr O’Connor.

“We have known it’s a problem. It’s a very old antiquated pipe and it needs to be replaced and we run the gauntlet all the time that another break is going to happen.”

Although the pipe was repaired last Thursday it took time for water stocks to rebuild and for pressure to return to normal.

Cllr O’Connor said Irish Water has committed to a €20 million replacement project but the details of this had yet to be worked out and that it would be a considerable undertaking.

Last week Irish Water said it was in the final stages of resolving contractual and regulatory issues and hoped to have the pipe fitted by the end of the year.

“Irish Water understands the inconvenience caused due to this burst water main and thanks customers for their patience,” it said.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times