Latest: Water supply in north-east may not come back until weekend, says Irish Water

People getting water from a water tank in Duleek yesterday. Pic: Seamus Farrelly

Update - 1.07pm: It could be the weekend before water is fully restored to the north-east.

Around 100,000 people have been affected in Louth and parts of Meath by a ruptured pipe.

Irish Water has warned that even when the water main is repaired, it could take a number of days before the water supply is fully restored.

Volunteers, such as Stephanie Grogan of the Irish Red Cross, have been supplying locals with clean water.

Ms Grogan said: "We fill the tanks that we have, calls get put into us and we follow the phone calls.

"If we see a need, we fill it. We are just looking out for the most vulnerable, the ones that need it. The sick, the elderly, the housebound, people with young families, young children."

Update - 11.57am: Irish Water is warning the pipe that burst in the north-east could be vulnerable to further breakages.

The utility says when a specially engineered section of pipe is installed in Drogheda tomorrow it hopes to slowly release water into the system by Thursday.

It is warning the overall pipe is very old and could be vulnerable to bursts in other areas of Louth and Meath.

However, the Solidarity Party's Mick Barry says the situation is proof wealth taxes are needed to fix the infrastructure.

He said: "I think what's coming home to roost here is that, not just Fine Gael, but right-wing governments and capitalism in general in this country, has made a mess.

"Not just of the water charges issue, but also of the water infrastructure issue in this country."

Earlier: Irish Water is consulting the Army to see if they can help with the the water shortage crisis in the north-east.

Sixteen road tankers have been deployed to supplement the mains water supply, and to replenish temporary water stations as thousands of people in Drogheda and east Meath face their fifth day without water.

It has also emerged that Irish Water had been repeatedly warned about the condition of the ruptured pipe that has cut off supply there.

According to reports in the Irish Times, the mains pipe near Drogheda was also broken in June last year.

Temporary collection points have been set up and Irish Water has deployed tankers to fill the reservoirs.

A Labour Senator for Louth says the people of Drogheda are angry over what he is calling a "cack-handed response" to the water outage in the region.

Senator Ged Nash says there was a general level of understanding at the weekend that major engineering works were needed, but frustration is growing every hour as Irish Water keeps missing its own deadlines.

He said: "A local Government TD has said that the Government has approved 50 water stations for the area, we've yet to see any of those water stations in Drogheda.

"The Drogheda town area has been covered by a mere six water stations over the weekend, this is a town of 43,000 people and that is simply unaaceptable.

"I have made my concerns known at the highest level the response has been absolutely inadequate and this needs to be addressed."

Brendan, who works in a creche in Drogheda, says they are rationing the water they have left in their tank.

He said: "I'd say when the tank is gone they will have to close the creche. Once the toilets can't flush they can't carry on.

"They are not using the water from the taps or drinking water, because they'd have to boil it, so children have to get their water.

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