independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Four protesters 'occupy' Irish Water office

Four anti-austerity protesters entered the new Irish Water office in Talbot Street and requested an immediate meeting with management.

The protesters made their way into the private premises when the door was left open by employees leaving the building. They proceeded to have an hour-long meeting with three officials from the semi-state organisation.

The discussion was a calm, but passionate exchange according to protestor Michael O'Brien, who took part in the occupation.

"There was no confrontation at all. They gave their defence of consultancy fees and we said our part," Mr O'Brien, who is from Malahide, told independent.ie.

"To be honest, we didn't know what to expect. We didn't present ourselves as a mob. It was useful, I suppose. It was a dress rehearsal for the debate that will be made in the second half of this year."

Mr O'Brien, who has been involved in building occupations as part of the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes, would not have left the building if they did not agree to engage in discussion.

"The benefit of occupations is that it gets attention and carries your argument well. A simple picket can be ignored.

"The meeting hasn't changed my mind [about Irish Water]. There were no surprises by their arguments."

While the four protesters spoke with Irish Water officials inside, a small protest took place outside. The picket was arranged by the Anti-Austerity Association, with spokeswoman Annette Hughes saying today was a good day to show opposition to Irish Water.

"We're here to make a stand and to tell the Government and to tell Irish Water that the people of Ireland cannot take anymore.

"We're here to show the people of Ireland are not willing to take this," she said.

Irish Independent

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