Irish Water defends response to discovery of high levels of chlorine in Meath supply

Fianna Fáil says the utility has questions to answer over its response time

Irish Water has moved to defend its response to unsafe levels of chlorine in the water supply in Meath.

Customers in the Kilcloon area near Dunboyne are being told not to use the water for washing, drinking or preparing food.

Some residents have developed rashes - while a number of children have become sick.

Locals have expressed concern over the time it took the company to issue its warning, while Fianna Fáil has insisted the utility has questions to answer.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Irish Water head of operations Kathleen Walsh said the utility was first notified late on Monday night.

“The whole process started, and, as I said, it culminated yesterday with the results of the test showing that we had elevated levels there," she said.

Slow

Yesterday Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne accused Irish Water of being too slow to react to the problem.

He said some of his constituents raised concerns “as early as Sunday and definitely Monday,” adding that “certainly the smell of chlorine is there since the weekend.”

“They had reported chemical burns, which arise in the form of rashes, children getting sick and going to the doctor, because of that,” he said

“In one case, an adult was reported as having got sick.”

Speaking yesterday, he said the utility only responded on Wednesday afternoon.

“We hope that this is solved as soon as possible but I do have questions for Irish Water as to why this has taken so long,” he said.

“In what appears to be a  very dangerous situation, that they have now reacted to a number of days late.”

Irish Water have said they are carrying out further tests this morning with news on when the notice will be lifted due later this afternoon.