herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Elderly couple despair as same burst mains floods home twice in 18 months

Joan Murtagh with granddaughters Vicki Woodgate (left) and Niamh Donnolly after her home was flooded again
Joan Murtagh with granddaughters Vicki Woodgate (left) and Niamh Donnolly after her home was flooded again

An elderly couple forced out of their home twice in 18 months by burst water mains have been promised new drains.

The same pipe at the centre of the first flood shattered again in the early hours of yesterday, swamping Jimmy and Joan Murtagh's house and cutting off the water supply in Navan, Co Meath.

Levels rose in the night and the damage was only discovered when the couple's granddaughter, Vicki Woodgate, got up to use the bathroom.

Mr Murtagh (81) and his 71-year-old wife were also flooded days before Christmas 2015.

Insurance

"The same pipe burst that time and left us under three feet of water," Mrs Murtagh told the Herald from her daughter's nearby home.

"The whole house had to be gutted and we were out of it for nine months.

"We only got back in last September and now it's happ-ened again.

"The last time this happened, Irish Water said they could not take responsibility for the damage because it was a case of wear and tear.

"So we had to use our insurance to pay for the repairs.

"We can't get insurance again. Somebody from Irish Water said they would cover the costs this time."

Irish Water said it is working with the Murtagh family and assessors to establish the cost of repairs to the concrete asbestos pipe outside their home.

The trunk main was repaired yesterday afternoon and water was being restored to between 5,000 and 10,000 homes.

However, new drains and road gullies will now be installed to draw water away from the houses should a future burst occur.

"While this was welcomed by Jimmy and Joan and their family living in adjacent houses, they said they would prefer that a new water mains was installed as well to lessen the chance of a future rupture," said Declan Donnelly, the elderly couple's son-in-law.

"Drains will help, but the mains needs replacing because two pipe sections out of a three- mile stretch have now failed. When will the next one be?"

Mr Donnelly lives next door, and the foundations for his house were flooded.

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