Torrent of anger on water charges spills onto Limerick streets

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

Protesters marching against water charges in Limerick city on Saturday
MINISTER Michael Noonan has been warned that the water protests will continue to bring thousands of people on to the streets of Limerick in the coming weeks.

MINISTER Michael Noonan has been warned that the water protests will continue to bring thousands of people on to the streets of Limerick in the coming weeks.

Organisers of the Limerick rally on Saturday said up to 4,000 people had turned out but gardai at Henry Street estimated the attendance at somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500.

They had converged on Bedford Row after four separate marches in the driving rain from the Treaty Stone, Punches Cross, Claughaun GAA Club and Westbury Shopping Centre.

Among them were Fianna Fail’s Deputy Niall Collins as well as members of Sinn Fein.

Most of the legwork for the Limerick protest was done by the Anti-Austerity Alliance, whose Cllr John Loftus said the protests would continue until charges were defeated.

“I think the contempt the government is showing is a major factor. Like yesterday when Michael Noonan said today would be just our last chance to demonstrate against the charges. If that is not ignorance and contempt for the people or Ireland, I don’t know what is,” he said.

Minister Noonan’s comments made him a particular target of slogans and banners in his home city. Demonstrators got another chance to wear Halloween werewolf and witch costumes to frighten the government into scrapping the charge.

Alan Casey, a gas fitter from Minister Noonan’s estate of Gouldavoher, told the crowd he had got involved in the campaign after learning of the involvement of one of tycoon Denis O’Brien’s companies in installing meters for Irish Water.

“Like dry sticks on hot burning embers, I was off and I wasn’t going to be stopped - putting up posters, handing out flyers, going to meetings and anything I could do to help,” said Mr Casey, who organised the march from Punches Cross.

He urged everyone to put in a similar effort in the weeks ahead in order to defeat the charges.

Another mass rally is being planned for Limerick on November 29.