Drogheda residents get back into the flow as water returns

As normal service resumed in Moneymore, people rushed to take advantage

St Mary’s School water collection point in Drogheda. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

St Mary’s School water collection point in Drogheda. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

 

When the attic tanks started to fill with water in the early hours of the morning, people rushed to shower and to put washing on.

“You don’t miss it until it’s gone,” says Ethna Clinton, sitting outside her house in Moneymore, Drogheda.

Ethna (54) is recovering from a stroke she suffered in January and said she has found the week without water difficult. The washing was backed up and she stayed up until 2.20am to do some, she says.

Her daughter Christina and son Nathan are helping her out and she has excellent support locally, she says. “The neighbours are really good to me.”

Ethna and everyone else affected by the water crisis is very grateful to the Order of Malta – which still had an ambulance driving around the estate as the water came back on – and the Army for their work to get water to people in their homes.

“They gave everyone 12 bottles,” she says.

Wendy McArdle, who lives across the road, says people were also using a tap at the nearby graveyard to fill their containers throughout the week.

She is in her front garden with two of her daughters, two-year-old Harper, in a buggy, and Nicole (10). Her other daughter, Kayla (12), is at the stage where she wants a bath every night, says Wendy.

“I have to tell her she can’t.”

The lack of water means she also has three full washing baskets to deal with now that the water has been restored.

Wendy’s mother, Yvonne, another long-time resident of Moneymore, lives alone across the road. She too is full of praise for her neighbours, the Army and the voluntary workers who dropped water to her house.

But now a large plastic water tank around the corner has no one at it since the first trickles came through the taps on Thursday morning.

Lynx to the community

Richard Hughes, who has been running a small shop on the estate for 12 years and who has lived in it for 38 years, says the local community has been “brilliant” during the crisis.

In an area with a young population and lots of young children, everyone is also looking out for the few older people who live there.

Plastic bottles are piled waist-high on the floor of the small shop, but a couple of young lads come in only wanting cans of Coke and sweets from the display under the glass counter.

The washing is backed up, too, in Mr Hughes’s house, where he lives with his wife, Tracy, and sons Cillian and Sean. Tracy took some to her sister’s house to catch up with it, he says.

He jokes that he stocked up on an extra supply of Lynx for the shop this week.

Around the corner, Edel Healy says at her hall door that she has been out of work all week because the nearby creche she works in had to close.

Another person, who did not wish to be named, says the closure of the creche has been “devastating” for local parents who still had to go to work and who had to make alternative arrangements for their children.

The car park of the large creche is empty but for two cars and a sign on the door to say it is closed due to the water crisis. The only people inside are painters.

Meanwhile, supply is being gradually restored and Irish Water say it may take some time for full pressure to be restored to all customers, particularly those on high ground.

Irish Water has appealed to people to conserve the mains water supply for the next few days until supply has returned to normal and to expect some issues with water taste and colour.