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Lisdoonvarna family vulnerable to Covid-19 concerned over poor water quality

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*Seán Farrelly at home in Lisdoonvarna.

North Clare residents have expressed health concerns due to their inability to use safe running water for three days this week

Houses in Ennistymon and Lisdoonvarna first witnessed discolour water emerging from their taps on Tuesday morning and say it resembled a cup of coffee. For Lindsey Power and her two sons living in Rooska, Lisdoonvarna, the situation is “pretty grim”.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a concern because we’re locked in the house, I’ve to look after my son because he is high priority and is very vulnerable to Covid-19, we’re all inside and have been for the last ten days,” Lindsey told The Clare Echo.

One of her sons, Seán Farrelly has been on the waiting list for Crumlin Hospital for over a year to have a heart condition assessed. “He has this strange condition where he can be resting and his heart will over accelerate and beat really fast, it lasts anywhere from thirty seconds to five or ten minutes, we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of what is causing it, he’s on the waiting list because they couldn’t find out what was wrong with him in Limerick”.

With a history of respiratory illnesses and having had pneumonia before, Seán is very vulnerable to Coronavirus. It’s because of this that Lindsey is in two minds about allowing anyone into their house to attempt to fix the water problems.

She stated, “We can’t keep proper hygiene, we’ve been told to wash our hands and that is the water we’re being given so God only knows what’s in it so I can’t expect my kids to have a bath in it, our shower doesn’t work. It’s just more germs. We’ve bottled water to brush our teeth but that is hard to find up here at the moment, we’ve three litres of that which will hopefully keep us going for the next day or two”.

They have barely left the house since measures to reduce social interactions were first outlined by the Government. “We’re getting home deliveries that we’ve to book two weeks in advance, we don’t get any of the special offers so our bill has gone through the roof. I had to go to the local shop on two occasions where we’ve had no choice but to go, in that case we’ve been social distancing, using hand sanitiser, I’ve rubber gloves from my studio and a few bits around that we can use to make it safer. We’re trying to absolutely limit it. We’re now at the point of having to call in favours,” the artist said.

In August, Lindsey is due to get married in England. The civil partnership is now in doubt. “Because it’s in England we can’t ask people to book flights to go over so we really don’t know what is going to happen. I haven’t seen my fiancé in ten days because there’s no one allowed in or out, he’s living in Ennis and because he has children it’s too high risk for my son. We’re totally isolated”.

As of Friday, clearer water is now in the houses which Rooska residents have been boiling all morning.

A spokesperson for Irish Water confirmed that their crews and those from Clare County Council repaired a large burst in the Ennistymon area during the week. “The issue is now resolved and normal water supply has been restored. However, there may be some discolouration of water in some areas due to sediment being disturbed during the repair work. This should clear by running the cold tap for a few minutes”.

Should issues remain customers can contact Irish Water at 1850 278 278 for further advice or investigation if required.

On instances whereby staff of Irish Water may have to enter a person’s home, they are following Government guidance plus advice from the European Centre on Disease Control and the World Health Organisation.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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