Monday 20 January 2020

Waterpark to stay closed while it waits for advice from safety body

Maeve Lodge with her children Lauren (11) and Aaron (2). Photo: Ciara Wilkinson
Maeve Lodge with her children Lauren (11) and Aaron (2). Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Elaine Keogh

The waterpark section of the Funtasia leisure complex in Drogheda, Co Louth, is expected to remain closed until the company has consulted with both the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and with the environment section of Louth County Council.

It is taking the steps after at least a dozen customers, including children, sought medical advice in hospital after apparently suffering from the effects of chlorine last Friday.

Customers, some of them parents, used social media to outline their symptoms of coughing, sneezing and watering eyes.

Two children were admitted to Temple Street Children's Hospital but have since been discharged.

One of them was the eight-year-old son of Louise Dunne from Skerries, Co Dublin, who was hospitalised along with his cousin.

Louise said her son was discharged in the early hours of Saturday while his 11-year-old cousin was discharged yesterday morning.

She said she had spoken with the manager of Funtasia and as a result was "feeling very reassured that he has done a lot over the past 48 hours to address Friday's issue".

"We also appreciate how concerned he has been about the children, particularly the two that were admitted to hospital. We do want to know the findings of the investigation and have requested them from him but we aren't taking the matter any further."

A family from Navan, Co Meath, also spoke about their experience.

Gary Lodge, who went to the waterpark with his wife Maeve and children Aaron (2) and Lauren (11), said: "I have never experienced anything like it in my life."

He said he began sneezing after about 15 minutes and put it down to the humidity in the waterpark.

He said the rest of the family began coughing and he saw many people coughing and sneezing: "My wife and the children are coughing. I am very headachey and my nose is burning," he said. All the family are recovering and their symptoms are easing.

In a statement, Funtasia said that "there was a very strong smell of chlorine in the swimming pool of the complex on Friday April 1. System checks showed that the level of chlorine in the pool was within acceptable levels; however some of those present experienced symptoms such as nausea, coughing, watering eyes and running noses.

"The pool area was cleared of customers as soon as possible and subsequently closed. A full recalibration of the pool system is now under way and the pool will remain closed until this is complete.

"We have requested that the Health and Safety Authority and the environmental section of Louth County Council look into the matter and the pool area will only reopen after consultation with these bodies.

"If anyone who visited the venue experienced any of the above symptoms, it is advised they seek medical advice," the statement added.

Irish Independent

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