Despite their many warnings, the O’Donnell parents, Shane and Julie, have found themselves declaring bankruptcy after their children failed to turn off the immersion. “Every day I’d tell them,” Julie says, “every day I’d say, is the immersion on? If it is, turn it off.” she says, shaking her head. “But it wasn’t enough.”

Immersion charges have been unusually high recently, due to the recent heatwaves leading to droves of Irish people being unusually sweaty. “Every evening it would be another shower, just before bed”, Shane told us. “As soon as I heard the click go at 10 p.m., I knew we’d be in trouble. It was going to be on for the night.”

Between three children, it’s not surprising that the O’Donnells have found themselves in such a dire financial situation. Studies have shown that for each child in a family, the chance of the immersion being left on doubles. “Don’t even get me started on holidays,” Julie says, with a clear frustration, “twice we’ve had to come back from the airport to double check the youngest hasn’t left it on”.

This is not the first time the family has reached such a financial crisis. Just last summer, they had equal trouble with their electricity bill. Mother Julie swears they “could have shares in the ESB the amount the lights are left on”. “Be it morning, noon or night, every bloody light in the house is on, we were pretty much running a moth sanctuary”, Shane adds, “the house was riddled with the bastards”.

When questioned about their inability to “turn the fecking yoke off when you’re done with it”, the children refused to comment. It’s unclear which child finally pushed it over the edge, however suspicions point to the youngest, who, according to Shane, “has a head like a bleedin’ sieve, that one”.

Representatives from the bank have advised the family to abstain from further immersion use, and to stop using all electricity altogether. “What really affected them”, Mr. Jones from AIB told us over the phone, “was the inability to recognise the frivolity of showering. I myself, only take one twice a week, and its gotten me my own office”. Reports suggest that Mr. Jones is on his own with that viewpoint.

The family want to use their situation to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving the immersion on, and how easy it can ruin lives. “I know many people struggle with this, but seriously, take it from us”, Julie says, while being comforted by her partner, “it’s not worth it. Don’t trust the children. If you have to check it everyday, so be it. Don’t end up like us, having to grab the shampoo and head outside as soon as we see rain.”

The family have set up a GoFundMe page, to help with their plight. If you would like to donate, please visit

Clodagh McMeel