Outpouring of frustration over Bantry’s water issues

March 5th, 2023 8:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

This was the colour of the water coming from a tap in New Street in Bantry last Saturday. The image was displayed by the county mayor at a meeting of the Western Divisional Committee meeting on Monday.

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AN accidentally damaged watermain caused serious supply disruptions to businesses and homeowners in Bantry last week, leaving residents furious about a near-constant flow of dirty water from their taps.

Bantry’s Wolfe Tone Square, Reenrour West, Main Street, Glengarriff Road and Marino Street were all impacted by the damage caused by a third party contractor, who was carrying out works in the area, but New Street was considered the worst affected.

Uisce Éireann said repair works were carried out as swiftly as possible, but locals, including business people, expressed their frustration with the frequency of water breaks in the town.

The fact that a lot of the premises were without water from midday on Monday, February 13th until 3pm on Tuesday afternoon was ‘disruptive and very inconvenient,’ according to one businesswoman.

But at a meeting of the Western Divisional Committee of Cork County Council on Monday, county mayor Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said some people in the New Street area were still affected on Saturday, and had to close their businesses early.

‘It was only on Monday morning that the water from the taps finally ran clear,’ he said. ‘On Saturday, one man filled his bath and it was pure mud.’ The mayor said he did his best to represent the people of Bantry by trying to engage with Uisce Éireann (Irish Water) but found trying to deal with the utility to be ‘torture.’

‘Is it English you want to speak?’ Cllr Collins said he was asked when he phoned the company. ‘We couldn’t understand each other and the people I spoke to had no clue of where I was talking about.’

Despite having spent 13 minutes on the phone trying to make himself understood, he said he has yet to hear back from them.

‘Trying to get answers from Irish Water is ridiculous,’ he said. ‘I was told to check the website but there was nothing on it about Saturday.’

At the Western Divisional Committee meeting, the councillors discussed a motion tabled by Fine Gael councillors Kevin Murphy, John O’Sullivan, Marie O’Sullivan and Caroline Cronin, calling on Uisce Éireann to attend the divisional meetings on a quarterly basis so they could get answers to their questions. 

Meanwhile, a highly critical county mayor asked how much did the Uisce Éireann rebranding from the name Irish Water cost.

A spokesperson for Uisce Éireann told The Southern Star that following an outage there may be some temporary discolouration of water and occasionally issues such as internal airlocks.

‘Usually running the tap for several minutes will restore the clear colour,’ he said. 

‘If the water continues to be discoloured, customers are advised to contact our customer care team on, open 24/7, on 1800 278 278 or via Twitter @IWCare. This will allow Uisce Éireann to investigate further.’

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