Limerick childcare facility forced to close over water supply

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald


Limerick childcare facility forced to close over water supply

Water tanker outside the preschool in Athlacca

UP TO 50 families were forced to make alternative arrangements for childcare services when the failure of a water pump forced the closure of their County Limerick preschool and afterschool facility.

And frustration is mounting that the issue still has not been resolved some four days later with children having to use toilet facilities in the local community centre this Monday.

“We had to close our service on Friday which was massively inconvenient to parents. It affected around 50 families,” explained Letitia English, manager of Star Kids in Athlacca village.

Ms English expressed her frustration with the information being relayed by Irish Water in relation to the incident.  

“It was Thursday evening it happened.We never get any notification from Irish Water.  Obviously burst pipes and things happen but we had to close on Friday because there was no sanctification facilities.We checked the website which said it would be resolved on May 17 at four o’clock and it’s still not resolved this morning,” said Ms English this Monday.

According to Ms English, she was monitoring the situation all weekend and decided to open the facility this Monday morning in the hope that the matter would be resolved.

“We came in for the breakfast club and one of my staff members rang me to say the toilets aren’t flushing again, the water is not coming through, and we had been assured that there would be water this morning. We were open at 7.30am. We had to take the children to the community centre to use the toilet which is not ideal. We didn’t want to let the parents down as they need to go to work. We are trying to do our best to keep the service open.”

A water tanker is now in situ outside the childcare service.

“We were directed back to the website again but they have not updated it. When you look at the map for Irish Water it looks like the problem has moved from Athlacca to Kilmallock.

“The symbol has been taken off but the issue has not been resolved.We are community-run. My issue is you contact Irish Water and they refer you back to the website but it’s not being updated properly. We need more of a concrete answer, even if they say it’s still not fixed. To give them their credit they are trying to put things in place and there is a water tank filling up the main line now but the problem hasn’t been resolved.

“The man with the tanker is going back and forth to Kilmallock filling up water and he said he will keep going all day until Irish Water tells him to stop. They are trying to help in that respect but they need to give us more information. I need to make decisions so I can contact parents in time so they can make alternative arrangements.”

Ms English explained that there has been problems with the water going “on and off because there have been some issues over the last year or so”.

When contacted this Monday a spokesperson for Irish Water said: “Irish Water and Limerick City and County Council are working to restore a normal water supply in the Athlacca area where customers have been experiencing some disruption to their supply in recent days.

The initial outage was due to the failure of a pump. This has since been repaired but a large leak in the network is causing ongoing problems. This leak has been located and crews are on site carrying out repairs.”

According to the spokesperson, it is expected that a normal supply will be restored by tomorrow.

“In the meantime, tankers are being used to feed water directly into the network in order to maintain a supply to customers. However, there may be intermittent outages until the repairs are complete. We are asking customers to conserve water where possible while these works are underway.  Irish Water regrets the inconvenience caused by this issue and thanks customers for their patience while we work to restore a normal supply.”

The customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1850 278 278 and customers can also make contact on Twitter @IWCare with any queries.