09 Aug 2022

Water outages forces Longford school to close four times

Irish Water: Louth Boil Water Notice due to  'inadequate chlorination'

Irish Water has come under fire after a Longford national school was forced to send pupils home on four separate occasions because of unnanouced water outages

Irish Water has been branded a “disgrace” after a Longford national school was forced to send pupils home on four separate occasions because of unscheduled water outages.

Ardagh National School, the Leader has learned, sacrificed four school days over the course of the academic year as a result of breakdowns in supply levels.

Vice Principal John Higgins told this newspaper how parents and teachers are increasingly alarmed at both the suddenness and frequency of interruptions in recent times.

“It's a disgrace really,” he said.

“We have lost four school days with no communication whatsoever, and I mean zero.”
Mr Higgins claimed the lack of transparency over how expected delays to supply levels are communicated has caused untold annoyance for the parents of school going children.

“The very first time it (water interruption) happened we were actually in school and it was just utter bedlam,” he insisted.

“It involved teachers having to go out to parents who were in their cars to tell them there was no water in the taps.

“It's just terribly frustrating for teachers and parents.”

Mr Higgins said on at least one occasion the school only learned of an outage courtesy of a number of parents who had spotted a notification the public utility posted on Facebook.

He said the fallout was one the school had struggled to cope woth in the wake of almost two years of stop start Covid restrictions.

“When you do ring them (Irish Water) on the phone you get someone who is unaware of the situation and only for the likes of (Cllr) Paul Ross we wouldn't know what is going on,” he said.

The Leader has submittted a request to Irish Water for a response to the concerns made by the school,but at the time of writing no statement had been issued.

The problems besetting the broader south Longford area's water supply network dominated proceedings at a meeting of Ballymahon Municipal District last week.

Councillors Paul Ross and Mick Cahill, together with Pat O'Toole led that charge with the latter pair raising questions about the utility's investment in water services in the south Longford area.

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