The old school in Lisduff where an outside tap was installed for local residents last summer

'Abandoned' Mayo community facing fearful future

Lives placed at risk by water saga

THE pre-Christmas freeze saw a Mayo community forced to go to a river for water.

The only public water supply serving their homes - an outside tap at an old school - was frozen for over a week.

Private wells were iced over too, resulting in residents and farmers turning to the local river for a supply to flush toilets and water livestock, and having to purchase drinking water.

It is the latest twist in a long-running saga where residents in Lisduff and Cleragh, outside Kiltimagh, have been lobbying for 10 years to be connected to the local public water scheme.

A spokesperson for the water committee said they felt 'abandoned', with people risking life and limb on frozen roads to access water.

Residents faced into Christmas fearful of the consequences if there is another big freeze this winter.

There had been no contact to see if the tap - serviced by a one-inch pipe outside the old Lisduff school where locals can fill containers - was operational during the recent cold spell.

When contacted by The Connaught Telegraph, Irish Water said it has contingency plans in place to deal with any future episode.

Work on the nearby treatment plant, which will increase capacity, allowing the residents to connect, is due to be completed by mid 2023.

They did not specify a date for when the 20 plus homes will have water in their taps.

A statement from Irish Water said: 'Works to increase the capacity at Kiltimagh water treatment plant are progressing well and are due to be completed by mid-2023.

'These works will provide sufficient resilience and capacity to accommodate a connection for the Cleragh community.

The rural water section of Mayo County Council is working with the Cleragh group to finalise the detailed design to extend the public network to supply this area and to procure a contractor to undertake these works.'

It continued: 'This summer a service pipe from the existing main on the Swinford Road to the old school in Cleragh was laid and a tap installed. The tap has been in use since July, allowing residents to fill bottles for drinking water purposes.

'Measures are being put in place to ensure an uninterrupted supply of water at this tap during cold spells.'