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HSE in ‘regular’ meetings with Irish Water following boil water notice

The HSE remains in “regular tripartite meetings” with Irish Water and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about issues of water quality from the water treatment plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare, this newspaper has been told.

“In relation to the two boil water notices in the greater Dublin area last October and November (applied to areas served by Leixlip treatment plant), there was extensive regular communication and interaction between Irish Water and the HSE,” an Irish Water spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

“Since the lifting of the second notice [in November], there have been regular tripartite meetings between Irish Water, the HSE, and the EPA in relation to Leixlip, where any potential risks are discussed and reviewed.”

The HSE signed-off on “health aspects” of the Irish Water press release published at the beginning of the major boiled water notice that was issued for much of Dublin city and county in October. According to correspondence seen by MI following a Freedom of Information request, the HSE worked closely with Irish Water in relation to the two boil water notices.

A one-page report, prepared for the HSE for the Minister for Health regarding the October boil water notice stated, “Irish Water informed the HSE and EPA at 11am on Tuesday 22 October of a mechanical failure at Leixlip water treatment plant.”

A subsequent meeting between the EPA, the HSE and Irish Water that same day led to the issuing of the notice.

“The HSE agreed the health aspects of the Irish Water press release and issued a further two press releases, one dealing with issues for the public and patients, and a separate one for food manufactures and providers. The HSE also contacted all affected hospitals and other premises on Tuesday evening.”

An Irish Water spokesperson told this newspaper: “The HSE is a statutory consultee to Irish Water in matters of public health and drinking water. Under this regulation, Irish Water must consult with the HSE and agree whether the drinking water in a supply poses a risk to public health (ie, following an incident), and if so, determine what advice must be issued immediately to all affected consumers.”

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