Wexford People

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WHEN BRIDGETOWN WOMAN Margaret Cousins hears the catchy jingle for ' WiMax a-coming across the nation', her skin crawls - quite literally.

As a sufferer of electro hypersensitivity, any increase in unseen traffic through the airwaves makes her skin burn.

Putting it simply, Margaret says she's allergic to electricity.

But mobile phone waves and broadband wireless networks all combine to make Margarets life a misery, so much so that she's had to move house 34 times in the last 16 years; can't live in the marital home with her husband of 42 years, Richard; and is in constant pain.

A nurse by profession, Margaret's troubles only started when she was 54. She can practically pinpoint the date.

'Electricty leaked at a supply pole going into my home. I could hear it,' she said, adding that she started to experience a burning sensation in her skin, pains in her head and ear, facial pains and dried out eyes. She even had to have the black fillings taken out of her teeth because they attracted electricity and made her jaws rattle.

'A year after that electricity leaked, I started getting the pains,' she said, adding that to this day she cannot wear jewellery, and has to summon every bit of strength in her being to do simple tasks like grocery shopping.

'On December 23, 1995, I left home. I had to go, the pain was so bad,' she said, adding that she rented a mobile home. Later, her son Ultan built her a timber, Scandanavian-style residence between Tenacre and Bridgetown, which suited her needs perfectly at the time, but the electricity-free life only lasted a while.

'I took up residence there in June 1997, and it was grand for about ten months,' she said, but then mobile phone antennae started sprouting up across the countryside.

'Every time power increases, or broadband is set up, I can feel it,' she said.

'I have moved 34 times in the last 16 years,' she said, adding fthat or a short time she found solace in rented accommodation in Curracloe.

Currently Margaret is staying at her sister's, but expects that she will have to move on again soon.

' This has destroyed my life, my career,' she said, adding that she has turned to kinieslogists and other alternative healers for help - but still finds the pain intolerable at times.

She's been in touch with Green Party TDs Mary White and John Gormley, and has met with the Minister for the Environment. ' The only solution for me is to get these rays out of my home.

I can't see that happening.'

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