Tuesday 23 December 2014

Anger over 'lack of warning' on E-coli outbreak at beach

Elaine Keogh

Published 20/06/2014 | 02:30

Teenagers jumping off the boardwalk bridge at Dollymount yesterday during the warm weather.
Pic Steve Humphreys
18th June 2014.
Teenagers jumping off the boardwalk bridge at Dollymount yesterday during the warm weather. Pic Steve Humphreys 18th June 2014.
Alison Mc Quaid from Raheny and Jacqueline Ferrigan from Dundalk enjoying the weather at Clontarf yesterday during the warm weather. Pic Steve Humphreys 18th June 2014.
'Gatso' shares an Ice Cream with owner Una O'Connor from Clontarf at Dollymount yesterday during the warm weather. Pic Steve Humphreys 18th June 2014.
Cousins Mya Byrne (5), Caoimhe O'Malley (6) and Lucy Somers (5) from Dunboyne pictured on Bettystown beach in Co Meath yesterday. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson.
A man reads the small sign erected at the Bettystown beach yesterday. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson.

PEOPLE are furious the presence of a potentially lethal bug was not widely publicised before thousands took to the waters on the hottest day of the year.

E-coli was detected in the water off of Bettystown beach, Co Meath, where families and young children have been swimming during the warm weather.

Results are due back to Meath County Council today after tests earlier this week indicated raised levels of E-coli at Bettystown beach.

But locals are furious that the presence of the bug was not widely publicised before Wednesday, the hottest day of the year.

Meath County Council was criticised yesterday for failing to put up large notices and not having staff at Bettystown beach notifying people that the water had elevated levels of E-coli and enterococci bacteria.

However, Meath County Council said that within an hour of getting the results of tests on the water that it erected a notice at the entrance to the beach and put it on its website.

But this was criticised by parents and politicians who said signage wasn't obvious.

One mother, whose children had been in the sea on Wednesday afternoon, said she spent "all night worrying" about them.

Jacinta Adeogun and her husband David revealed that their infant son Elijah died when he was just three days old after contracting E-coli after his birth.

"The kids were playing in the water only to go home and find there was bacteria in it," she said.

"Why wasn't it signposted, why weren't we told? We seen lifeguards walking around all day yesterday and still none of them informed any of the people that were in the water swimming yesterday. There were hundreds of people swimming in the water yesterday."

In a statement, Meath County Council said samples of the water are taken every week, usually on a Monday.

"The result of the samples taken on Monday identified increased levels of E-coli and enterococci," it said.

Meanwhile, a mother has said she was "absolutely terrified" when her teenage son developed a "flesh-eating bug" after swimming at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin.

Rachel Sneddon said her 15-year-old son was placed on a course of antibiotics when a gaping wound developed in his back after he took a dip in the canal water.

Irish Independent

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