Wednesday 22 November 2017

Hottest June in 40 years as island's water shut off

Michael McHale

IT was the hottest June in 40 years, Met Eireann revealed yesterday.

The statistics show that for most of the country it was drier and warmer than normal. Mayo had the driest June in half a century, with the western county recording just a quarter of the normal monthly rainfall total.

Nationwide, only half the usual amount of rain fell, while there were between five and nine days with 1mm or more of rainfall, compared to the June average of between nine and 13.

In the heat stakes, Mullingar and Cork had the warmest month for the last four decades. Temperatures were about two degrees higher than normal in most places, with the period from June 20 to 27 particularly warm.

The reason for this is high pressure over the country, bringing with it dry and sunny conditions.

The statistics show a trend of exceptionally dry weather over the past six months.

"We have only had half our normal rainfall in June and it has been two or three degrees above the normal temperature," Met Eireann forecaster John Eagleton said.

Meanwhile, islanders were yesterday left not so high and very dry. The 170 residents of Inis Meain, the middle of the three Aran islands off the Galway coast, had no air service to the mainland and no water supply. A temporary arrangement was reached late last evening which resulted in the water supply being restored.

They were cut off after a row led to the dissolution of the management board of the local co-op, Comharchumann Inis Meain.

The co-op, which is funded by Udaras na Gaeltachta and Roinn na Gaeltachta, is charged with manning the desalination plant attached to the local private group water scheme. It also provides the necessary manpower for the local airstrip.

But with the break-up of the management board -- over financial problems and other internal difficulties -- the workers have had nobody to report to and no way of getting paid.

SIPTU official Michael Kilcoyne said: "The board of the co-op resigned, but there was nobody to replace them. Our members received no pay last Friday and Udaras na Gaeltachta are saying that it is not their problem. The reality for the co-op workers is that they are not going to work if they are not getting paid."

The water supply to homes and businesses on Inis Meain was turned off as the desalination plant was not manned.

B&B owner Angela Flaherty, concerned about the impact on tourists, said what had happened was "a downright disgrace".

Irish Independent

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