Irish Water comes under fire after unplanned outage in Glengarriff

September 22nd, 2022 7:10 AM

By Jackie Keogh

County mayor Danny Collins said it would be easier to get to talk to the president of the US than get through to Irish Water about recent issues in Glengarriff.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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AN unplanned water outage in Glengarriff left one hotelier wondering if his guests would be able to shower in the morning, while a publican brought in a tanker to flush the loos.

The county mayor Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) was fuming when he raised the issue at a recent meeting of the West Cork Municipal District.

Despite having an already very busy weekend in the run-up to the Bantry Agricultural Show, he said his phone was ‘hopping’ as people from Glengarriff wanted to know what was happening.

The mayor said customers were not notified by Irish Water about the disruption in supply – from Saturday night through to Sunday lunchtime – but a text did the rounds in Glengarriff.

Irish Water explained to The Southern Star that as this was an unplanned outage ‘we would not have been able to inform any of our customers directly in advance.’

The spokesperson said there was ‘an issue with a valve at the Glengarriff water treatment plant on Saturday, September 3rd which restricted the flow of water for approximately 12 hours.’

‘Once we became aware of the outage,’ he said, ‘it was posted on our website and repair crews from Irish Water and Cork County Council worked as quickly as possible to resolve the issue.’

Despite the swift response, he acknowledged that ‘some of our customers would have experienced an unplanned outage for the day’ and he said Irish Water apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused.’

At the Municipal District meeting, Cllr Collins expressed his frustration at trying to ‘get the report in under data protection,’ a process that took 15 minutes because he couldn’t understand the non-national person he was speaking to, and, equally, she couldn’t understand his strong West Cork accent.

‘She hadn’t a clue where Glengarriff was,’ he added.

He also complained that he rang at 5pm, 8pm and 10pm but was unable to get an update.

‘I got phone calls from a publican who got a tanker to clear his toilets,’ he added, ‘and the general manager at the Eccles Hotel told me it could have cost him thousands if guests, getting up in the morning, had no showers.’

The mayor said he wants a meeting with Irish Water at which he plans to complain about the ‘so-called contact phone number’ given to public representatives.

‘If you rang the office of the president of the United States you’d do better,’ he maintained.

‘At the tail end of the summer season, to be without water is devastating,’ Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) concurred.

David Manning, the general manager of the Eccles Hotel said he has no wish to be negative, but he said he would have appreciated some notification from Irish Water given that he had a full house – 120 guests – staying on Saturday night.

In addition to the residents, he said they had people coming to the hotel to dine, and as one of the biggest employers in Glengarriff a heads-up would have been appreciated.

Aside from food prep, showers and flushing loos, he said the hotel also has a spa and two hot tubs that need filling.

‘If I had known there was going to be a shortage of water,’ he said, ‘I would have done my bit but there was no communication from Irish Water. There was nothing to let us know this was happening.’

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