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06 Dec 2021

Senator: 'Enhanced scrutiny and oversight' needed for water management following Ballymore-Eustace plant controversy

Irish Water: Louth Boil Water Notice due to  'inadequate chlorination'

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A Senator from Kildare has called for the implementation of 'enhanced scrutiny and oversight' for issues concerning water management.

Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin specifically called for these changes to take place at the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant.

She said in a statement: "We were all shocked in August when we learned of the incidents which occurred at the Creagh Water Treatment Plant in Gorey, and the Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant."

"It is clear that the management of these facilities failed, and failed miserably, to protect and safeguard the quality of water which was coming from their facilities."

Senator O' Loughlin also claimed that failure of the local authorities to report issues of water quality to Irish water in a timely manner led to "an unacceptable delay" in the EPA and HSE being notified.

She elaborated: "There was no opportunity to issue a boil water notice; a prompt response here could have protected the over 900,000 people who were dependant on this water supply from being needlessly put at risk.

"What I find even more concerning than the reports of how the specific issues were dealt with-  the pump failure in Ballymore Eustace or the power failure at Creagh Water Treatment Plant- is the fact that even under normal circumstances, we were failing to protect our water supply."

"A recent audit found that chlorine levels at the Ballymore Eustace plant were below standards even when the facility was functioning normally."

Senator O’Loughlin continued: "The entire process of how we supply water in this country needs to be reviewed, and it’s clear that enhanced scrutiny and oversight of the entire process is needed.

"We are all aware of the eel situation at Carlow North Regional water facility in September, which supplies water to Castledermot."

These are just 3 examples, I could go on all day recounting stories of issues from across the country."

She concluded: "We need to see better oversight, and we need to ensure that the water coming from peoples taps is of the highest standard."

Senator O' Loughlin also raised the issue in the Seanad, under the commencement: "The plans to ensure water supplies are reliable and safe, particularly in view of issues at the Ballymore Eustace plant."

Senator Fiona O' Loughlin recently also made headlines yesterday when she welcomed the announcement of a new Disability Participation and Awareness Fund.

Worth €2.5 million, the Fund will be allocated to local authorities to implement opportunities for people with disabilities.

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