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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020
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Coronavirus: From water to electricity, vital services shouldn't be interrupted in the coming weeks

Public transport will all be running as normal too.

Image: Shutterstock/Pushish Images

IRELAND’S SCHOOLS, COLLEGES and other public buildings are closing – but this is not a shutdown on a grand scale. 

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced an unprecedented shutdown of large swathes of institutions and facilities.  

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that closing schools is an “important part of the strategy” and didn’t rule out a further extension on the closures.

Electricity, water and essential services will continue and while major disruptions will occur over the coming weeks, vital industries will remain staffed and working.

Water

Irish water supply won’t be interrupted. 

Niall Gleeson, the managing director of Irish Water, said in a statement that the organisation’s priority “is the safety and well-being of our staff and the maintenance of water and wastewater services”. 

“We are confident that we have the capacity and capability to maintain critical services for the country,” he said. 

Over the last several weeks, the Irish Water crisis management team has been meeting to prepare for Covid-19. 

While it’s trying to accommodate remote working for its own staff, Irish Water is working on “contingency plans” as the situation develops. 

A spokesperson for Irish Water said that it was in regular contact with local authorities and would be ensuring that chemicals for water and wastewater treatment is available and that service is maintained at its customer service centre.

There are also plans in place to maintain essential services if an area is restricted or critical staff are unavailable.  

Electricity

As the country prepares for a lot of time spent inside in the coming weeks, people can be assured that electricity supply will not be interrupted. 

A spokesperson for EirGrid, which operates the electricity system, told TheJournal.ie that “contingency plans” are in place to address the Covid-19 crisis. 

These plans, the spokesperson said, are focused on “mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on electricity services”. 

“We have implemented a number of precautionary measures designed to protect all of our staff, while also ensuring the ongoing resilience and effective operation of the National Control Centre, which controls the flow of electricity throughout the country,” the spokesperson said. 

Courts

Courts will remain open and in “business as usual” mode, a statement from the Courts Service said. 

With a variety of measures announced last night for each level of court, the main aim will be to reduce the numbers of people attending court buildings. 

The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal will continue as normal, but no new trials will commence in the Central Criminal Courts or the Circuit Criminal Courts for at least the next two weeks. 

Transport

While many people will be working from home from today, plenty of other people won’t have that option. 

With shops and some businesses remaining open, public transport will also continue to run as normal throughout Ireland. 

A statement from the National Transport Authority issued last night said that it had been “advised by public health officials that cleaning and sanitary procedures on the public transport fleet are sufficient for dealing with Covid-19″.

The authority has asked passengers “to be mindful of this when considering the use of public transport”. 

In a statement to TheJournl.ie, a spokesperson for Bus Éireann said that it had an internal group meeting daily to monitor the situation. 

“Supplies of hand sanitising gel and wipes are being provided for all employees,” the spokesperson said.

Post

An Post says that things should remain operating as normal over the coming weeks. 

“At this difficult time for everyone, our objective is to ensure the health & safety of staff, the continuity of business for An Post’s customers and to assist the national effort wherever possible” said An Post CEO, David McRedmond.  

Alongside deliveries, mail and parcel collection will be operating as normal, a spokesperson for An Post said last night, although delivery times may vary – the company said it is trying to facilitate flexible working arrangements for staff. 

Special arrangements for anyone unable to collect their pensions are now in place. A spokesperson said that “a nominated temporary agent may collect the payment on their behalf, on production of necessary ID and documentation”.

Schools and colleges

All schools and colleges have been asked to close until at least 29 March. 

Schools have been asked to continue to plan lessons and, where possible, provide online resources for students or online lessons where schools are equipped to do so, while also prioritising supporting exam classes. 

For universities and colleges, physical classes are not going to be held during the closure and you can expect institutions to take steps to keep providing teaching and learning to students. 

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