| 13.1°C Dublin

Jobs at risk as food firm left without water supply

Dozens of jobs are at risk as one of the biggest food manufacturing plants in the country is running out of water necessary for production.

Batchelor's has put 40 workers on protective notice in their Cabra plant after reporting that they are running out of water necessary to can peas, beans and fruit juices.

In addition to job fears, angry residents in the area claim they are living in a Third World situation.

They have been forced to queue for domestic water and have none to flush their toilets.

Burst

The northside community of Cabra is one of the worst affected areas in the city, along with Finglas, Artane, Coolock.

They are now running into their fifth day without running water.

Dublin City Council blames the shortage on the "massive" demand over the extensive cold weather and the water mains that burst as a result.

A spokesperson told the Herald: "Crews are working night and day often in very bad weather to rectify the situation.

"We could not say now how long the problems will persist, but hope to be in a better position to advise people on this later in the week."

Residents have dubbed their living situation as the stuff of Slumdog Millionaire, since they do not have water to wash, clean, cook, or use the toilet.

Mr Frank Rochford, of Ventry Park, Cabra West, has been without water since Monday morning.

He is having to buy bottled water and shower in relatives' homes.

"The water first went at 11am on Sunday," he said. "It came back at 7pm that night, but we haven't had water since Monday morning.

"We can have the second film of Slumdog Millionaire here in Dublin. I had to buy drinking water, and I can't flush the toilet -- there are even people going to the canal with their black bins to collect toilet water."

Frank claims he has tried to call Dublin City Council offices several times during the past few days to enquire when the water will resume, but he has not got a response.

"They won't answer the phones," he said. "The last fella I was talking to said there was a slight pressure problem and that it'd be back in a few hours, but that was days ago.

"No one knows what's going on. It's ridiculous."

Annette O'Reilly, of Carnlough Road, Cabra, said that senior citizens in the area find it difficult to access the tankers put in place by the council.

"People queued up yesterday for two hours in Ventry Park, and when they got to the top of the queue, the tanker was empty," she said. "It's mental."

"There are queues of people with milk cartons and anything they can get their hands on.

"This is a crisis. I'm knocking on people's doors to tell them that the tankers are there."

According to Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, who represents the area, there are parts of Cabra without heating since Sunday, now that the water is gone.

She stressed: "It really was terrible that no advance notice was given to people that the water was going to be cut off.

"It's disgraceful that people still don't know when it's going to be restored, not just for sanitary purposes, but people are also without heating."

Batchelor's plant, which employs 235 people, said the job threat was directly related to the low reservoir levels.

The factory, which is believed to be the second-biggest user of public water supplies in the capital, insisted that the notice would be lifted if and when conditions return to normal.

Exhausted

"Batchelor's has now exhausted its own water storage supply and as a result will be forced to curtail production at the facility for the remainder of the week," a spokeswoman said.

"The situation represents a major blow for the company, and one which is likely to have a serious knock-on effect on its ability to meet customer demand."

More tankers have been set up in the city today. Added to the list are: Lorcan Avenue in Santry; the Artane Shopping Centre, Atlantic Homecare on Clonshaugh Road in Coolock; Edenmore Road in Coolock; Summerhill Court in Dun Laoghaire; and Bushy Park.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy