Wednesday 23 October 2019

Hotel's cold showers for delegates land us in hot water

Herbert Park Hotel
Herbert Park Hotel

Fionnan Sheahan and Paul Melia

Ireland's EU Presidency landed in hot water when the showers in an upmarket hotel hosting European officials wouldn't work.

A minister had to move hotels and Ireland's European Commissioner was temporarily diverted elsewhere due to a water problem in a top hotel in Dublin 4.

In an embarrassing diplomatic incident, a lack of hot water in the four-star Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge resulted in a number of EU officials being discommoded.

The problem was subsequently rectified and the hotel continued to host EU officials – however, not before some VIPs had to be moved.

Freshen up

Arriving into Dublin off a flight from the US to attend an EU meeting in Dublin Castle, European Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn was diverted away from the hotel to freshen up on Thursday morning.

"We got the information there was a water problem in the hotel. She had to rearrange her plans," an EU source said.

The water is understood to have been out in some parts of the hotel for up to three hours due to an air lock in the mains.

The water came back on at 11am, allowing the delegates to shower ahead of the start of the meeting at 12.30pm. But a minister from Malta and his aide had to be moved to the nearby Bewley's Hotel to shower as he had an early meeting.

Stefan Buontempo, Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, was among the officials affected.

"There was no hot water so basically the delegation was moved to Bewley's Hotel. It was the easiest solution," another source said.

The EU officials were all in Dublin to attend a competitiveness council meeting in Dublin Castle.

The EU Presidency office confirmed there was a problem. "We were aware of the problem on Thursday morning, which once identified was quickly rectified. We did not receive any complaints," a spokesperson said.

Dublin City Council said there was no problem with the water in the city network this week.

The Herbert Park Hotel declined to comment when contacted repeatedly by this newspaper. "We will not be commenting. We will not be releasing any information," a staff member said. The Maltese Embassy also said it would not be commenting on the incident but did praise Ireland's EU Presidency.

Irish Independent

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