Meath residents demand answers over chlorine levels in water supply

Irish Water withdrew a 'Do not Use' notice yesterday afternoon

It has emerged that far more people than previously thought may have become ill due to chlorine contamination in south County Meath.

Irish Water withdrew a 'Do not Use' notice yesterday afternoon.

The alert was issued on Wednesday afternoon after high levels of chlorine were detected.

Fianna Fáil has accused the utility of being too slow to react to the problem, claiming residents had raised concerns "as early as Sunday and definitely Monday."

Chemical

At a public meeting in Kilcloon last night, residents claimed Irish Water still had not answered basic questions about what happened – and demanded to know how much of the chemical got into their supply.

Local woman Grainne Murtagh said it became clear that far more people were affected than previously thought:

“At the minute what is being put out there is that there are very few, or little numbers, or not many - when actually it was very apparent that there are a lot of people who are sick at the moment in our community,” she said.

She said people have been reporting skin burns, and digestive problems:

“What has happened is that the parents, or the people who have been suffering in that regard, have been drinking excess water in the hope that that will assist their situation not realising that potentially it was the water that was making them sick in the first place.

Chlorine

In a statement yesterday, Irish Water said it was notified late on Monday night via email that customers were experiencing water quality issues.

The utility said it then telephoned those customers on Tuesday and they reported a smell of chlorine from their water.

A number of samples were then taken, with results coming through on Wednesday morning, and that "a small number of customers" said they were feeling unwell.

The 'Do not Use' notice was issued on Wednesday afternoon.