SCHOOL children at Doora National School are being repeatedly left without water, leading to fears that swine flu could spread without adequate hand-washing facilities.
On Monday, a burst water main in Clarecastle led to Doora National School not having a supply of water in the morning.
However, according to school principal Mary Curley, the school has been left without water facilities on a number of occasions in the past year and they are calling on the council to take action.
“A number of times in the last school year our school was left without water due to burst pipes.
“ In April, May and June we noticed that it was happening more frequently. This has caused major disruption to our school day, especially as we have no advance notice and no idea how long we’re going to be without water.
“Running a school of almost 80 pupils with no toilet facilities or facilities to wash their hands is not satisfactory,” she said.
Ms Curley commented that the matter is of particular concern in light of swine flu.
“We’ve started another school year and we are being told by the HSE about the threat of swine flu, about making sure hands are washed regularly.
“We have done all that they have asked of us, supplying paper towels and soap but without water what can we do? Measures have to be taken to prevent the spread of germs and running a school with no water is a haven for germs.”
She concluded, “It’s not hygienic and it’s not good enough in this day and age for a school not to have water. Something needs to be done to improve the situation.”
Tom Malone, chairman of the board of management in the school echoed the principal’s concerns. “From a hygiene point of view this is a very serious issue. We’ve been without water several times because of burst water mains and because it’s a surprise to the council, we don’t have advance warning. A solution is needed.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn has described the situation at the school as “unacceptable, particularly in this time of swine flu”.
Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer with Clare County Council for the Ennis area, confirmed that the water shortage on Monday was the result of a burst water main in Clarecastle.
The council were alerted to the problem at 8.30am and the system was back on line at 2pm that day.
He acknowledged that there have been issues surrounding the network in Clarecastle, which serves the Doora district. “We are looking at trying to resolve the issue in Clarecastle,” he said.
A new pumping system has been in place in the area since the end of May this year, aimed at improving pressure in the Doora area. There has been an issue of stones in the system, which the council is looking into.
Mr O’Dea said that in the past year there have been five bursts of a major nature in the Clarecastle area, which has affected the supply to the Doora district.
He added that the county council will do further checks in the general area.