herald

Saturday 22 September 2018

One man and his van 'a Godsend' during water crisis

Ray O’Doherty on his rounds delivering water to locals. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ray O’Doherty on his rounds delivering water to locals. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

A Dublin man and his Transit van were the talk of Co Louth this week after coming to the aid of people hit by the water crisis.

The Termon Abbey and Aston Village estates in north Drogheda were left without water after a massive mains burst last Friday and by Monday, things had reached crisis point.

While local authorities and the Army set up water filling stations, Ray O'Doherty, from Donaghmede, got into gear to do his bit.

"I woke up on Monday, which was my day off, and there was mayhem in the estate," said Ray.

"There was no drinking water and I wondered what I could do.

"The van was empty, so I drove to Dublin to get some supplies for anyone that might need it.

"There's a lot of people in the estate who don't drive, and families with young kids as well as elderly residents, so if there was any way of making the situation a bit easier I didn't mind helping.

"The reason I went so far away to get water was I didn't want to take from the supply in local shops because I knew there would be a high local demand for that.

"There would be no point trying to help people and buying all the local water that was in the shops - it would defeat the purpose," he added.

Between JCs in Swords and Aldi in Ashbourne, Ray was able to fill his van and drive back to Drogheda.

Vulnerable

"He put the word out on Facebook that he had water and delivered it door to door," said Antoinette Quinn Dorgan, a mother-of-three who lives in the Aston Village estate.

"It was a great help because we didn't have to leave the house to get drinking water."

Ray gave the water to the elderly free and charged less than the local shops for others, just to cover his diesel and the cost of the water.

"He's a Godsend. He was bringing water to our doors, and for people that don't drive or can't leave the house that's just brilliant," said Antoinette.

"When I went to Balbriggan all I could get was sparkling water, so I was flushing the toilet with that.

"Thanks to Ray we had drinking water."

"Everyone rallied around. There is great community spirit here," added Ray.

Meanwhile, St John Ambulance in Drogheda said a company based in Castlebellingham that drills wells was of great assistance by allowing the charity to fill up at its base and distribute the water to vulnerable members of the community.

"We were back and forth two and three times with hundreds of five-litre bottles, and bringing them to the Gary Kelly Centre, Homeless Aid, the day care centres and the halting sites and estates where water was needed," said Colin Maher, of St John Ambulance.

"Coca Cola were doing the same for the Order of Malta and the Red Cross. It was great to see such generosity."

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