Friday 6 December 2019

Sick pensioners say they are sceptical of new water allowance

Case Study

Pensioner Mary Murtagh. Photo: Ray Ryan.
Pensioner Mary Murtagh. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Emma Jane Hade

Pensioner Mary Murtagh who spends €240 a month on bottled water has concerns over the lack of clarity over allowances for customers with medical needs.

The Co Roscommon resident revealed that both she and her husband have been unwell recently, explaining that her husband has undergone a number of major surgeries.

Mary and her husband Aiden (69) live in Castlerea, a small town which has been plagued by boil water notices for several years, and she has been forced to purchase bottled water for domestic use in her home. While she appreciates the announcement of the allowance for those whose medical needs that necessitate the use of extra water, she fears that it may be taken advantage of due to the lack of clarity surrounding the 'vulnerable customers scheme'. "How are they going to get around to everybody?," she asks.

"People have been boiling the water for eight years, if not more. So of course they are not going to want to pay for water. "So they will look for anyway out of paying for it, or getting more - they will do that," she added.

She uses bottled water for all of her daily chores, food preparation and for showers.

"My husband had his last operation two months ago. He has had a triple by-pass," she explained. "We just have to be very careful that nothing gets into him."

She said that they are currently using at least 20 litres of bottled water per day, and can spend upwards of €240 per month. But, she remains doubtful that her tap water will become safe in the near future.

Irish Independent

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