Stand-off between irate families and Irish Water workers enters second day

Ralph Riegel – Updated 23 April 2014 12:44 PM

IRISH Water contractors have been prevented for a second day from installing meters in a Cork housing estate by a blockade manned by residents and campaigners.

Gardai called to the Ashbrook Estate in Togher on Cork’s southside at 10am and warned protestors that they were not entitled to prevent access to the estate.

However, several protestors said that while they understood the garda instruction, they felt so strongly about the water meter installation issue they were prepared to be arrested.

Pickets manned by eight volunteers remained in place with locals ferrying tea and scones to the protestors.

Protestor reinforcements are on standby.

Contractors had to withdraw from the housing estate on Tuesday after being confronted by over 100 parents and children protesting against water meter installation works.

A number of families, including mothers and children, surrounded the work areas and refused to allow the work to continue.

The contractors remain parked directly across from the entrance to the estate but have made no attempt to resume the meter installation works today.

Protestor John Lonergan said that locals will not accept the installation of the meters and, in particular, smart meters which utilise microwave technology.

Another protestor, John O’Donovan of the Campaign Against Home and and Water Taxes, said the peaceful demonstration was an example of how “people power can triumph.”

“We stood and blocked them while their were digging. They have no consent from any of the householders to do this,” he said.

“Basically what they are doing is pushing contracts on people and it is a one-sided contract.”

“They have no permission given by anyone…to be putting meters outside people’s homes. They are pushing this on us without even asking for permission to do so”.

Gardai attended the scene both days but have so far not intervened.

Irish Water said that the meter installation will have to take place.

Irish Independent

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