23 May 2022

St Christopher's chief 'knew nothing' of Longford water outage until morning text message

Disruption to supply forces closure of day service unit

Irish Water announce disruption to supply in parts of Ardee next week

Concerns have been raised at the level of communication given to essential services in Longford following an electrical fault at the Lough Forbes water treatment plant

The head of St Christopher's Services has lambasted Irish Water over a major breakdown which has forced the Battery Road facility to close a residential day unit.


Chief executive Derek Scanlon said the first he knew of an interruption was via a text message which an employee received this morning to inform them of a potential stoppage to water supplies.

Mr Scanlon said the local service provider had been forced to purchase bottled water and implement "back up plans" of its own to deal with the fallout.

"All our residential units are open because there are people that are there 24/7 but we have closed a day service unit," he confirmed.

Mr Scanlon bemoaned how information surrounding an electrical fault at the Lough Forbes water treatment plant was relayed to local stakeholders and essential frontline organisations like St Christopher's.

He also warned of potential further closures to other units should interruption to supply levels continue over the weekend.

"If the disruption continues then we will have to look at perhaps closing other facilities as there would only be a specific amount of water available to us in tanks that are needed to flush toilets and ensure infection control," he said.

"The first we found out about it was through someone who had received a text this morning and who was living in the area.

"There would appear to be a lack of contingency planning and support. There needs to be more and better communication in dealing with essential services to inform them and assist them in whatever way they can."

The controversy has also sparked outrage among the local business sector, with local insurance broker Abbey Murphy revealing to the Leader this morning of its decision to send staff home as a result of the disruption.

ALSO READ: Longford businessman forced to send staff home due to water outage

Templemichael College, likewise, announced on its own social media page earlier that it had informed staff and students to work from home owing to health and safety concerns.

The Leader has also contacted two other Longford town based secondary schools, Meán Scoil Mhuire and St Mel's College, who both confirmed they were operating as normal.

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