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Irish Water denies shower infection claims



Irish Water denies that the contaminated public water supply in Connemara is responsible for causing a near-fatal infection in one of its customers, a dialysis patient.

The public utility, which reaffirmed that it does not comment on individual cases, last week issued a statement suggesting Joe Wall from Carraroe was infected by something other than the public water supply connected to his shower.

Mr Wall, who featured in last week’s Connacht Tribune, however, has been told by health professionals that the most likely cause of him contracting peritonitis is the quality of water in An Cheathrú Rua, where a boil water notice is in place due to cryptosporidium.

Mr Wall, a 58-year-old peritoneal dialysis patient who receives treatment through his stomach by a Tenckhoff catheter, was admitted to hospital last Tuesday after complications from an E. Coli infection.

Mr Wall, as well as the consultants and nurses treating him, linked his infection to the contaminated water in An Cheathrú Rua’s public supply.

Similar problems were experienced by dialysis patients when the city’s water was contaminated with cryptosporidium some years ago, Mr Wall was told by hospital staff.

Speaking from his hospital bed on Tuesday, a week later, he said he had to have surgery to remove the tube from his abdomen, as it too may have been infected.

“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The complications with dialysis mean that they kept me in (hospital) for the past week,” he said.

Mr Wall had hoped he could continue to get dialysis treatment at his home in Bothar Buí but this has been ruled out. “The nurse told me ‘not while the water situation in Carraroe is the way it is with cryptosporidium’. It means I’ll have to go to Galway for the haemodialysis,” said Mr Wall.

Mr Wall went public on his ordeal to warn other vulnerable people in areas of Galway where boil water notices are in place. Some 4,700 people in Carraroe are impacted by the boil water notice issued last month. Boil water notices remain in place in Williamstown, Leitir Mór and Loughrea.

Ervia, the parent company of Irish Water, in statement said: “While Irish Water cannot comment on specific cases we can confirm that in line with our commitments to our customers all vulnerable water users in the area were notified within an hour of Irish Water being notified that a boil water notice was being issued in South Connemara.”

Ervia added: “More importantly, we would also like to point out that there was never an issue with E. Coli in drinking water supplied in this area. All water supplied to customers in South Connemara has been chlorinated for the last 30 years – that is, zero E. Coli at our supply point.

“In addition, we have not turned the UV off at the water treatment plant which means that we are providing a dual barrier for E. Coli. If the E. Coli which caused the infection came from the water in this customer’s shower it did not originate in the public supply. Potential sources of this kind of contamination are re-contamination of the water supply within the owner’s property or other hygiene risks within the home.”

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor O Clochartaigh that it has issued a summons to Irish Water alleging Irish Water has failed to implement an action programme agreed by the EPA last September, to improve the quality of water at An Cheathrú Rua.

The court case is listed for hearing in Dublin on May 23.

“As you will appreciate the EPA can make no further comment on this matter until such time as the court case has concluded,” the EPA told Senator Ó Clochartaigh.

Elsewhere, the boil water notice imposed on Ahascragh public water supply on April 1, 2016 has been lifted. Customers affected can now resume normal use of the water supply, it said.

Some 853 people were impacted by the notice which included group schemes in Lowville No.2, Castlegar West, Castlegar Lissyegan, Cornamucklagh, and Ballyglass. The precaution was lifted after advice from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Irish Water and Galway County Council in a statement issued by Ervia, said they “acknowledge the patience, cooperation and assistance of the general public during the period of the boil water notice and greatly regrets any inconvenience caused to householders, the farming and the business community.”

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors



Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre



An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis



Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from

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