Red faces as Labour’s Leddin joins Limerick protest

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Joe Leddin, parliamentary assistant to Minister Jan O'Sullivan, is to march against water charges in Limerick this Saturday
LABOUR councillor Joe Leddin, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s parliamentary assistant, is to march in protest against Irish Water on Saturday.

LABOUR councillor Joe Leddin, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s parliamentary assistant, is to march in protest against Irish Water on Saturday.

The former general election candidate’s action is likely to cause embarrassment to Ms O’Sullivan, only recently appointed to a full ministry.

And in a day of high drama, the leader of Limerick City and County Council Kevin Sheahan has also confirmed he will take part in the action, set to get under way at 2pm outside City Hall this Saturday.

Cllr Leddin, one of only three Labour councillors elected, says he is “appalled” at bonuses paid to Irish Water executives, and believes the firm was set up in a hurry.

“I would have a serious issue with the fact there was an original commitment given that there would be no charges introduced until the roll out of the water meters. That has not happened. There has been a rush to get the structures in place,” he said.

Cllr Leddin, who also bid to represent Labour in the Seanad, called for a nominal water charge amount to be charged to householders until the full structures are in place.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr Sheahan, meanwhile, called for Irish Water to be abolished.

His intervention is noticeable, as not only is he considered the council’s figurehead, but it was his Fianna Fail party which agreed to the introduction of charges following the bailout.

“We did not agree to the detail of how much a call out charge would be, we did not agree to these ridiculous bonuses - and I think this is the straw that broke the camel’s back really,” the council leader said.

He said is considers water charges to be “excessive, unfair and, at this time,far too harsh and severe on the general public.”

Protest organiser, Cllr Cian Prendiville said people who are not opposed to water charges should not march.

“Those who say protest but pay are abandoning the hundreds of thousands who can’t pay or won’t pay this unjust charge, and abandoning any real chance to defeat this water charges and jettisoning the best effective tactic to defeat these water charges,” he said.