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Loughrea faces two months of boiling water

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Loughrea residents face the hardship of boiling their tap water for up to two months after Irish Water admitted the treatment plant is not equipped to remove the potentially lethal bug cryptosporidium.

A week after the health warning was given, the utility has announced that the best option is to install UV treatment equipment at the old plant – which will take three to four weeks to install.

After that, extensive testing over a number of weeks will be required to ensure it is meeting water safety standards for the 8,500 people living in the catchment area.

Until then the boil water notice remains in place, placing a financial burden on families who buy bottled water instead of the boiling it due to taste, safety and convenience reasons. People have been urged not to drink the water, make ice, brush their teeth or prepare food from the tap and instead boil all water.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said she and her two boys have switched to bottled water after the three of them had constant stomach cramps after drinking boiled water.

“There’s a metallic taste to the boiled water. I’d have two half cups of coffee in the morning and my stomach was constantly upset. I stopped it and then I was fine. I went back and the pains started again. The children were saying they had pains in their tummies so I’m only using bottle water now,” she explained.

“Everyone else is buying water so when you go to the shop you might have to buy the most expensive one as the cheaper ones are sold out. It all adds up.”

Irish Water refused to put somebody forward for interview. In a statement, a spokesperson said the treatment plants producing drinking water for this area are not sufficiently equipped to produce drinking water that meets the current water quality standards.

“In particular, the plants are vulnerable to pollution incidents in the catchment and the consequences of recent very wet weather has increased this risk considerably. This has led to cryptosporidium contamination in the drinking water produced at the plant,” stated Asset Programmes Manager Sean Laffey.

The current option being investigated is the installation of UV treatment equipment at the old plant.

“Normally UV treatment systems could take up to a year to procure, install and fully test. In the case of the Loughrea, a solution may be possible within a number of weeks due to the availability of UV treatment equipment that was decommissioned by Irish Water from another plant elsewhere in the country.

“We are hopeful that we will now be able to get this installed within three to four weeks after which further water quality tests will be required on the Loughrea supply to satisfy the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that water can be produced to the high standard required.

“Lifting the boil water notice could therefore take a number of additional weeks after the equipment is installed.”

A long term solution to address the water quality in Loughrea is currently at the planning stage and will take between two and three years to complete.

This will involve the construction of a new pipeline to bring water from a modern treatment plant at Tuam to the Loughrea area.

The boil notice applies to all properties serviced by the Loughrea Public Water Supply including the Craughwell area and the following group water schemes: Earlspark, Masonbrook, Newtowndaly, Loughrea Rural, Killeenadeema,Carrowmore/Clostoken & Caherlaven, Caherdine, Ballymanna, Carrigean.

CITY TRIBUNE

50 domestic abuse 999 calls to Galway Gardaí cancelled

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s Garda Chief has committed to a ‘root and branch investigation’ after an internal review unearthed over 50 domestic abuse calls that were cancelled by local Gardaí.

An internal Garda inquiry has revealed that nationally, members of the force cancelled between 3,000 and 4,000 domestic abuse-related ‘999’ calls between 2019 and 2020.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Monday, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told members that the inquiry found 53 such calls in the Galway Division.

He said he had been tasked by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to sift through the calls and follow up on how they were handled by Gardaí.

“In relation to domestic incidents where calls were cancelled, I have 53 from my division. I am carrying out a root and branch investigation and perhaps at the next JPC meeting, I will be able to give an update of the findings.

“I have only listened to a number of the calls at the moment and I’d rather be in possession of the full facts before commenting any further,” said Chief Supt Curley.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillor claims dealers are using jet skis to bring drugs to Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Drugs are being delivered into the city by jet skis coming down the Corrib, a meeting of the city’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) heard on Monday.

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said there had been reports of dealers using jet skis to come down the river from areas around Headford and Cong, dropping deliveries in the city without fear of detection.

“Do we have a Garda water unit in Galway City to deal with that,” asked Cllr Fahy.

The Chief Superintendent, Tom Curley, said he was not aware of the practice but if anyone had any information on these deliveries, they should bring it to Gardaí.

“We haven’t got a water unit in the city but there is one in Athlone that is available to us any day of the week,” he added.

This came as the JPC was informed that drugs seizures have soared in the city, with year-on-year figures for detection of dealing up 84% in the first five months of 2021.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Walk-in Covid test facility to open in city centre next week

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Galway City Tribune – A new walk-in Covid testing centre will open in the old tourist office off Forster Street next Tuesday.

The centre will replace the one at NUIG, where students were being encouraged to get tested without an appointment if they showed symptoms or were close contacts of somebody who tested positive.

It will be open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.

The new location will be a more convenient base for people visiting the city to check for the virus over the coming weeks as the tourist season ramps up.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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