Anti-water charges protests to take place in Limerick

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Water protestors in Limerick this week Lena Fitzgerald, Janesboro, Lally Hayes, Corbally and Jeannette Scully, Caherdavin outside Limerick Senior College prior to the arrival of Jan O'Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills
ANTI-WATER charge protestors will again take to the streets in Abbeyfeale this Saturday as part of the build-up to a national demonstration at Dáil Eireann in December. At the same time, 2pm, a protest will begin at City Hall in Limerick.

ANTI-WATER charge protestors will again take to the streets in Abbeyfeale this Saturday as part of the build-up to a national demonstration at Dáil Eireann in December. At the same time, 2pm, a protest will begin at City Hall in Limerick.

“Hopefully we will have better weather this time,” Andy O’Sullivan of Abbeyfeale Against Water Charges said in advance of Saturday’s protest.

Mr O’Sullivan was one of up to 400 people who marched in torrential rain in Abbeyfeale earlier this month in protest against water charges and the organisers hope the turn-out this Saturday will match or exceed that.

The protest will assemble at 2pm at Mountmahon Industrial Estate and march through the town to a short rally in the Square.

Mr O’Sullivan stressed that Abbeyfeale Against Water Charges was not affiliated to any political party or group but was a grass-roots movement from within the community opposed to paying any water charges.

“We have tried to keep the campaign people involved, to make sure the resistance stays strong,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

The protest is being called in the week after the Government announced big changes to the initial pricing structure. “If people hadn’t marched, nothing would have changed. That is the basic fact,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

But he stressed: “No matter what changes the Government has made, it doesn’t change the fact that people will be paying twice.”

“The meters are there for a purpose,” he continued. “As soon as they can, they will go straight back on to meters.”

People, he warned, will all end up payiing meter rates for water. “It is disgraceful. To have done it while there was still 42% leakage in the system is shocking.”

“We will keep the pressure up,” Mr O’Sullivan vowed. “We can’t come this far and say we will give up now.”

Last Saturday, up to 70 people marched in Newcastle West in an anti-water charge protest called by the “We Won’t Pay” alliance.

The protesters were addressed by Cllr Cian Prendiville and Shirley O’Brien before marching from Aras Smith OBrien, the council’s offices, along Sheahan’s Rd and into the Square.

Later the same day, plans were made to set up an anti-water charges support group in Newcastle West. This is taking place at a meeting this Thursday evening in the Ballintemple Inn at 7pm.

One of the organisers, Shirley O’Brien has urged people from the area to join in Saturday’s protests.

“If you can’t make to the Limerick portest, then try to get to Abbeyfeale,” she said.

“At the end of the day, we are all in the same boat,” she continued. “We want to stop water charges. We want to abolish Irish Water.”

“It is not about the concessions,” she pointed out, adding that Ireland had been given an exemption from the EU on water charges in 2001 yet no member of the Government was talking about that.