Family will lose water supply after St Brigid’s Nursing Home land is put on the market

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A FAMILY in Brittas is set to lose their water supply after St Brigid’s Nursing Home in Crooksling closes next year – a supply which has been there for over a hundred years.

Danielle Lawlor (42), who is a carer for her son, Eoin, who has autism, and her mother Annie Fields (née Hudson) (69), who has MS, told The Echo that her parents, who live in Crooksling in Brittas, contacted the HSE and South Dublin County Council recently to ascertain what would happen to their water supply following the closure of the nursing home.

Brittas Water 2 1

Danielle Lawlor and her son Eoin

The house they live in was built in the late 1700s and has been in the Hudson family for generations, who were tenants of the Verschoyle family who in turn owned the lands that the house was on, and also the lands where St Brigid’s Nursing Home would later be developed.

The nursing home was originally a sanatorium for people with tuberculosis, which was developed in the early 1900s and, from this point on, water supply to surrounding houses was provided from the sanatorium, continuing right through to when it became a nursing home and thereafter.

Over the years the land has come into the ownership of the Eastern Health Board and the HSE, but the water continued to be supplied to the neighbouring residents. The Fields family recently received letters from the HSE and SDCC in response to their queries about the water supply, with the HSE confirming that when the nursing home and surrounding lands will be put on the market in the third quarter of next year, that the HSE “will no longer be in a position to fund and maintain a water supply at this site”.

The HSE advised the Fields to “make alternative arrangements for future water supplies”.

SDCC informed the Fields that their house, and the Crooksling area, “cannot currently be supplied with drinking water from a public water supply” and suggested they could develop a “single-well supply” for their property, which they said is a “fairly common solution” for others in the area.

Danielle told The Echo: “We’ve been getting our water from Crooksling for years – we always have done.

“The land was donated to be a TB hospital, and then for care for the elderly, and we always got our water from there, even as the land changed hands.

“We can’t build a well because we’re on a sandbank. One of our neighbours built a well but there was a problem with E. coli in the water.

“We’ve basically been told that they’re closing the nursing home and they’re cutting our water off. The worry of it is making my mam’s MS worse.

“What are we supposed to do? We’re on a sandbank, we can’t drill for water.”

A spokesperson for SDCC told The Echo that people in Crooksling “must already be supplied with water from wells, as there is no other source of water in the area.”

The spokesperson added that St Brigid’s Home is supplied with water from a well, and that the council “sees no difficulties in the private householders continuing to get supply from wells under current or new arrangements.”

St Brigid’s Nursing Home in Crooksling is set go on the market in the third quarter of 2020, by which time just over half the beds in a 100-bed community nursing facility in Tymon North in Tallaght –which is nearing completion – will be used to house older people from St Brigid’s.

Danielle added: “I don’t understand why the nursing home is closing, it’s ridiculous.

“I don’t understand why they’re taking people away from the greenery of Crooksling to go to a concrete block.

“It’s sad that they’re going to close it.”

The HSE previously stated that St Brigid’s “is not fit for purpose” and “cannot be used for the accommodation of older people beyond the short term”. A spokesperson for the HSE was contacted for comment, but a reply was not received in time for print.

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