By Dan Walsh
Irish Water has apologised to the people of Gorey as investigations continues into how, when and why unsafe water entered the public water supply at Creagh Water Plant in Gorey and “late notification of issues relating to the disinfection process at the plant potentially put public health at risk.”
A full investigation is now under way involving Wexford County Council and Irish Water following contamination of the public water supply between August 19th and the 24th. The incident was not reported until August 26th.
Some sources have informed WexfordLocal.com that some earlier outbreaks may have been reported by the public – circa-August 11th and 12th and are calling on Irish Water to trawl their records for the purpose of conducting a thorough investigation.
There were 52 confirmed cases of illness associated with the Gorey failure, including bacteria linked to E.coli and a number of associated hospitalisations. Again, local sources believe that the figure may be considerably higher and went unreported.
Senator Malcolm Byrne organised a meeting between local councillors from the Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District and senior officials at Irish Water this morning and has been outlining a summary of events on his social media page.
“The meeting delegation appreciated the apology from Irish Water to the people of Gorey for the recent incident that led to contamination of the water supply from the Creagh treatment plant.
“The HSE is preparing a final report on the level of illness in the community in August 2021. It seems to be linked to a problem from August 19th to August 24th and the report will identify the nature of illnesses experienced.
There has been no bacterial problem identified since August 24th and the meeting delegation has been reassured that water in the area is now safe.
“We appreciate Irish Water’s apology, but we need action to ensure this never happens again. Over fifty people were left ill. There is still a long way to go to ensure that there is full public trust in the water supply.
“People were vomiting, passing blood and with cramps. The seriousness of this issue should not be underestimated.
“There was an acknowledgment of the failure of communications between Wexford County Council and Irish Water.
“Those who were made ill should contact Irish Water with details about the problems they experienced.”
Irish Water has agreed to meet again with Senator Byrne and Gorey-Kilmuckridge councillors once the independent investigation report is published.
There are indications locally that some of those who contracted illness from the drinking water without a ‘Boil Warning’ or ‘Do Not Consume Notice’ warning may seek compensation through the legal system, however, the HSE will have a role to play and GDPR and ‘patient confidentiality’ may prove to be a difficult obstacle to surmount.
The monthly meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council takes place tomorrow (Tuesday) in County Hall, Wexford, and further discussion is expected with councillors chasing many unanswered questions in relation to the incident which is attracting nationwide media publicity.