MIltown Malbay - The Daily Click

*Photograph: Arthur Ellis

AN EMERGENCY MEETING with Uisce Éireann has been requested by councillors in West Clare following a second water outage in Miltown Malbay.

Businesses and households in Miltown Malbay were left without water for the second Sunday in a row after a burst water main during the height of the area’s busiest season.

Speaking at the AGM of the West Clare Municipal District, Cllr Michael Shannon (FF) raised the matter and labelled it “a very serious situation. We’re facing into a very busy period, we had an outage on Sunday, the second Sunday in two weeks, I visited the site, it is eroding and it needs to be replaced, we need action from Irish Water because it needs to be replaced, we need to maintain the supply, we need to redirect the water supply for the hotels in Spanish Point and Miltown Malbay, small businesses were out for most of the day.

“It is one of the main arteries, it is huge artery. It can be done, our civil engineers should come up with some solution or something to get us over the summer period, we need Irish Water to relay the pipe but we need an engineering solution to maintain supply for this critical period, this tourism season is a very short period for Miltown Malbay, Quilty and Spanish Point, it is more prolonged in North Clare and we need to do something. It is most weekends like Bank Holidays when there is more pressure on the line that it cannot cope”.

Businesses in Miltown Malbay “weren’t able to flush the toilets,” Cllr Bill Slattery (FG) flagged. “The Armada and the Bellbridge were not able to manage, the restaurants were raging,” he commented. “The hotels should have enough reserve water in their tank to keep them going I was told but they hadn’t. I don’t know do Irish Water have consideration for the amount of people staying in their hotels. This was the second Sunday, Willie Clancy is on next week”.

Slattery recalled that in 2015 “when the reservoir in Fanore ran out they were able to tamper water through Eugene Drennan’s tanks, is there a possibility to have some arrangement with Clare County Council and Irish Water to bring tankered water to these hotels through Eugene Drennan or someone”. Cllr Joe Killeen responded, “That facility must be there because it was done last summer in Fanore”, he said such a move must be considered for “some of the main hotels”.

Contingency plans are needed, Cathaoirleach of the West Clare MD, Cllr Rita McInerney (FF) maintained. “We know it consistently takes place in places like Kilkee and Doonbeg, it is a short season of eight weeks and it always happens”.

Holding an emergency meeting with the operation management of Uisce Éireann was proposed by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) “because they are answerable to nobody”.

Acting Director of Services, John O’Malley said they can attempt to arrange such a meeting. “We’ve tried before and it hasn’t been successful so I wouldn’t hold my breath”. The Miltown Malbay man said the Council no longer has “direct input” regarding Uisce Éireann. “I can see the worry that is there and Willie Clancy week is coming,” he acknowledged. O’Malley added, “We will aim to set up an emergency meeting, we can try have meeting with senior staff of Irish Water. This is critical”.

Communication between the Council and Uisce Éireann “just isn’t there,” commented Cllr McInerney. “I had to make a decision to instal a water tank when I expanded the business because I couldn’t rely on what was there, it is an additional expense that we as family businesses are expected to do”.

Pressure must be put on the county’s Oireachtas members to bring about a solution, Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) stated. Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) commented, “Is the water not a public service, are people not entitled to it, why are we talking about boreen wells two weeks before Willie Clancy. The idea to bore wells in Fanore is because there is salt water in proximity to the Atlantic, there needs to be a contingency plan”.

An immediate interim solution is needed, Cllr Shannon emphasised. “Willie Clancy starts this Saturday, proposing we come up with an engineering solution to deal with it. Where it broke last Sunday and where it broke the Sunday before is the length of the table away, it should have been done last winter before the tourism season”. He added, “Irish Water need to explain why we are in this predicament. The tourism season is quite short in West Clare. We’re very worried about the supply of water in West Clare”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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