Business booms for Limerick's dry cleaners - thanks to burst pipes

LIMERICK dry cleaners have been cleaning up in the fallout of the Big Freeze, as burst pipes and water shortages leave householders without the use of their washing machines.

LIMERICK dry cleaners have been cleaning up in the fallout of the Big Freeze, as burst pipes and water shortages leave householders without the use of their washing machines.

Proving that it is an ill wind that blows no good, dry cleaners have been seeing a marked increase in business, with bags of laundry arriving to be washed and dried.

A rapid rise in temperatures after days of sub-zero conditions over Christmas gave rise to burst pipes, water shortages and lots of clothes, towels and bed linen that needed to be washed.

Eoghan Mannion of Mannion Dry Cleaners, who has premises on Athlunkard Street and Mallow Street, said he has been very busy since they re-opened for business after Christmas.

There were two customers weighed down with bags of laundry waiting at the door of the Mallow Street store when it opened on December 28.

"That wouldn't be the usual thing but they had burst pipes over Christmas and they just wanted to get the laundry out of the house before it started to smell," he said. "People don't have running water at home to wash their own clothes, and so my laundry has got a lot busier because of it."

The businessman expected a flood of customers when temperatures began to rise, but he did not want to take advantage of their predicament and has offered customers affected by burst pipes a 10 per cent discount.

"The first place that the burst pipes go, is into your hot press so all the clothes that aren't being used are in your hot press. The pipes burst, wet all the clothes and they say I can't leave them here, they are going to smell and so they bring them into us to wash and dry them."

Mr Mannion's premises on Athlunkard Street was not affected by frozen pipes or water shortages like many households along the street.

"I think all of Athlunkard Street was stuck for water. I try to keep all the water inside, and keep all the pipes insulated and I have a tank inside so my water never went here."

The two weeks before Christmas was busy for dry cleaners "because people have so much to do, rather than sit at home and watch a washing machine run around and take it out and put it on the line, they just come in to us".