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Pubs face disaster on New Year's Eve

A BLEAK 2010 looks set to be capped by a disastrous New Year's Eve for city restaurants and pubs who may be left without water.

Businesses are being pushed to breaking point because of the capital's water crisis.

And one of the biggest nights of the year is now under threat.

A decision on restrictions for New Year's Eve will be made in the coming hours, but a senior engineer has warned that businesses might not like it.

"We are aware of the problems for business and how important New Year's Eve is to them," said city council engineer Brian McKeown.

The serious water problems have led to calls for changes to building regulations that would ensure pipes for all new projects would be better protected.

But the Restaurants' Association of Ireland has warned that many businesses will have gone bust by St Patrick's Day unless councils agree to pay compensation.

Officials had hoped water restrictions would be lift before Friday, but the difficulty of locating burst pipes is causing havoc.

"We're going to look at the situation. Obviously we're aware of that particular evening to business and so on. We'll be reviewing that situation and making a decision on it either today or tomorrow to let people know," said Mr McKeown.

He ruled out just supplying water to businesses in parts of the city on December 31.

"Restaurants and pubs and hotels are scattered right across the city and the Dublin region, so it could be unfair to pick out one particular zone and say the businesses in that area are going to be okay," he said.


Dublin TD Michael Kennedy wants stricter laws to be enforced around the issue of pipe-laying.

"The pipes supplying water to our homes, businesses and community facilities are too close to the ground's surface and therefore are more vulnerable to freezing over or bursting during severely cold weather," he said.

Some hotel and restaurant owners did invest in their own storage tanks after the crisis that followed last January but even these won't be able to deal with prolonged cut-offs.