‘Everyone warned Irish Water the pipes needed to be replaced’

Residents in Louth and Meath angry as water shortages continue

Residents at Termon Abbey in Drogheda queue for water. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Residents at Termon Abbey in Drogheda queue for water. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The weekend without water had been an “eye-opener”, said Pat Finnegan as he collected water from a stand pipe in Ballsgrove, Drogheda on Monday.

He said he had turned off the circulation pump in his garden pond in case his neighbours thought he was wasting water.The water itself has since been used for the flowers and “even the dog’s water bowl” has run out.

The water to his home was turned off last Friday night, although “it did come back for a while on Sunday night”.

Jim Smith from Rathmullen Park said he had come to the stand pipe to get water to flush his toilets. With four boys in the house aged between seven and 19 years there would normally be great demand on the showers, he said, but there was nothing they could do since the water had been turned off, except get bottled water in the shops.

On the other side of Drogheda, as residents queued for water from a tanker at Termon Abbey, Ken White from Donore, a local care worker, said he had paid his water charges but if he had the decision back again he would “certainly not” pay.

‘Everybody warned Irish Water’

He said he was aware the burst water main causing the problem in the Drogheda area was 50 years old and “everyone warned Irish Water the pipes needed to be replaced” but he said the company “went and spent half a billion – and some – on water meters, instead of fixing the leaks”. Mr White said he also blamed the Government for the situation.

Also in the queue was Emma Black from Newtown Meadows who said she had “had enough”. She said she did not pay water charges, but would not have minded a flat charge of about €100 to cover maintenance. “But the money was spent on meters” she added, agreeing with Mr White.

As queuing times for water supplies edged towards 30 minutes, cars backed up on a roundabout at Termon Abbey/Aston Village stretching about 100 yards along the road towards the centre of Drogheda.