County Derry homes and schools hit by NI Water dispute

Emergency water supply in Dungiven. (DERR2001SJ3)
Emergency water supply in Dungiven. (DERR2001SJ3)

As hundreds of householders throughout County Derry continue to cope without water due to the ongoing industrial dispute involving NI Water, the company has made available an alternative water supply in affected areas.

“The number of homes off supply in County Derry was approximately 1,550 and is currently approximately 323, although the situation is constantly improving,” said a NI Water spokesperson just before 6pm on Monday.

Due to the ongoing disruption, a number of schools in Dungiven, Claudy, Altinure and Feeny were forced to close on Monday.

Principal of St. Patrick’s, College, Dungiven, Michael Gormley said it had caused substantial disruption but was relieved the supply was back on by Monday afternoon.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ just as the water supply came back on at 2pm, Mr Gormley said: “We had to make the decision whether to open at around 7.30am. If we had waited any longer it would have been too late to notify parents.”

Mr Gormley said it would be back to school for students on Tuesday.

“Hopefully, that’s the water back on now to stay. We’re just checking around the school to make sure everything is okay,” added Mr Gormley.

Alternative locations include the car park at 104 Main Street; Dungiven; 58 Main Street, Claudy, Gortnahey: Burnfoot Cottages, 307 Drumrane Road, Dungiven, Feeny: 87 Main Street, Feeny, Park: 213 Learmount Road, Park.

NI Water advised customers to bring their own containers to collect water from the tanks. Customers should boil the water before use.

It has emerged that approximately 6,500 properties are without water. Over the weekend, around 1,300 households and businesses were affected by the latest rounds of strikes by the Northern Ireland Water workforce, affecting mainly Fermanagh, Tyrone, and County Derry areas.

Out-of-hours repairs are not being carried out because of a dispute over pensions.

As a result, NI Water staff are not working overtime.

Northern Ireland Water and union representatives are due to meet. Monday’s talks will focus on a third offer made by the company. The unions have said that they believe it does not address the core issues.