News is breaking of the most unimaginable tragedy in Essex where 38 adults and one teenager have been found dead in a container that entered the United Kingdom through Holyhead. It is an unspeakable tragedy and our immediate thoughts are with the families and communities of those affected. I am conscious that the news is only breaking and that there is very little detail. It is something to which the House may have to come back in the coming days if there has been any involvement of an Irish port in the travels of the container.
Yesterday evening a boil water notice was issued by Irish Water. It is impacting on more than 600,000 people throughout counties Dublin and Kildare and parts of Meath. It has been reported that the notice was issued because the Leixlip treatment plant had been compromised when the disinfection process did not work correctly. Clearly the notice was not issued in a manner Irish Water would have the capacity to deal with the volume of people that would be affected or the volume of queries. People were asked to make contact on the website, but it crashed. This morning they were referred to Twitter or the Irish Water website to look at maps, but they are very difficult to read, particularly for those with issues with their vision or older people. People are finding that Irish Water is still trying to update the maps, 18 hours later. It all seems to be very ad hoc and does not suggest Irish Water has contingency plans in place for an event such as this.
As I said, 600,000 people are affected. According to the most recent update from Irish Water, at 11.45 a.m., the boil water notice will last for a few more days, but it does not have a time or date. Will the Taoiseach update us on his understanding of it? It affects almost 20% of the population. What is his view of what happened last night? Is Irish Water fit for purpose? When an event such as this happens, its communications strategy needs to be robust enough to give people vital information when they need it. When was the Government informed of the impending boil water notice? Did the Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, have meetings with Irish Water officials last night or this morning to discuss the impact of the boil water notice and ensure low income communities, in particular, would be provided with access to the necessary water tankers to ensure they would not be affected by it?