A SHANNON mother was thrown into crisis after her family was hit by a gastric bug causing vomiting and diarrhoea, while her house was without running water.
Sue Egan was without running water for 10 days and without heating for two, due to persistent freezing conditions earlier this month.
She lives in Cúl na Gréine with her nine-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter and they were without running water from January 2 to 13.
Things were particularly bad after her son contracted the bug. “On January 9, I had to bring my son to ShannonDoc because he was vomiting and had diarrohea. We needed running water and I called a plumber because I thought it was the pipes, not the mains. He couldn’t fix it though.”
Sue also contracted the bug and while they have had running water back for some time now, on Tuesday, they were still without it in the upstairs part of their home.
Also on Tuesday, Shannon got its regular water supply back after weeks of disruption, with the water being cut off from 8pm until 8am and from 12noon to 5pm.
Mayor of Shannon Seán McLoughlin said that there was a need to learn lessons for the future.
“From before Christmas when the heavy frost started up until last week, my phone was ringing all the time. Water is vital to all our lives and when we were hit with this out of the blue we weren’t prepared. We need to look at what happened.”
He said that more funding is needed to tackle infrastructure deficits in the area. “The Minister for the Environment is saying he will allocate money to upgrade pipes and that’s great but if you look at the Shannon Electoral Area, it’s after increasing in size by 25%. Then on top of that, there’s three lads after going from the roads crew and another three gone from the water crew and they can’t hire any more because of the moratorium on recruitment. Not only are they down personnel but the size of their area has increased and their budget has fallen.”
Mayor of Clare Tony Mulcahy said that people had to realise that some disruption was inevitable given the extremity of the weather. “It was the worst weather that we’ve had in 50 years. I was going to work at 7.30am in the mornings and the roads were slippy but you could get by. The footpaths were impassable but it’s never going to be possible to grit all the paths.”
He said that the hills in Shannon have always been problematic at times of heavy frost and that a number of the recently installed water meters in the town hadn’t been able to cope in the extreme conditions.