Locals 'angry' as commuter belt suffers
WASHING clothes and giving your baby a bath before bed is taken for granted.
But families living in some commuter towns have not been able to do any of these everyday tasks for more than three weeks.
Water stopped flowing into taps in hundreds of homes on Christmas Day when sub-zero temperatures set in.
"People are angry," says mother-of-one Helen Sweeney. "We've only been without it a week but there's lots of large new estates with commuters and small families. They're all Dubs and they have nowhere to go for help."
Helen lives in Mullingar with her daughter Niamh Ni Donghaile (2).
"I got the army to come around and they filled the tank once. I had to use the water really sparingly -- I'm too afraid to use it. I'm worried about the heating.
"You can't be washing clothes -- that's hard. I had to go over to a friend's house to do a wash and I'll have to go back tonight."
Brian Gillen of Mullingar Civil Defence -- along with Westmeath County Council staff -- has called to people in "extreme hardship" cases. Mr Gillen described how residents are desperate for water. "One man hadn't a wash and a shave in a week. There's women trying to mind three and four kids, they're delighted to see us," he added.