Friday 23 February 2018

Council meeting abandoned as chamber occupied by anti-water charge protesters

Cork City Hall
Cork City Hall
Ralph Riegel

By Ralph Riegel

A CORK City Council meeting had to be abandoned tonight after anti-water charge protesters occupied the City Hall chamber.

The regular Monday meeting was initially suspended when a dozen protesters entered the meeting room and demanded to be allowed make a public statement in support of Dublin and Cork campaigners who face ongoing court action.

They were cheered by about 30 protestors from the public galleries.

Protestors demanded that they be allowed make a statement to the full council over the treatment of anti-water charge campaigners in both Cork and Dublin.

Five campaigners were jailed by the High Court in Dublin last week with two claiming to be on hunger strike.

A vigil is due to be held at at Finglas Garda Station tonight.

One of the jailed men, Derek Byrne, has issued a statement through his supporters from inside Wheatfield prison.

"The three of here in Wheatfield Prison are disgusted that 27 TD's are heading abroad for St Patricks Day to promote Ireland," he said.

"How much is this costing?

"They can find money for thier lavish trips but cant give medical cards to sick children."

In Cork, the Socialist Party’s Councillor Mick Barry asked for standing orders to be suspended to discuss an emergency motion on the treatment of anti-water charge protestors.

However, after some discussion it was decided protestors would not be allowed make the statement.

The chamber was occupied as a result.

After about 15 minutes it was decided by Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Shields to abandon the scheduled meeting.

Amongst the protesters was Brian Gould (64) who appeared before Cork District Court last week on matters arising from an anti-water charge protest in Carrigaline in August 2014.

Mr Gould of Cathedral Road, Cork denies a total of 11 charges including 10 counts of damaging water meters to a total value of €800.

He delivered a short speech to the chamber demanding that the council seek the abolition of Irish Water and to express its support for the release of five anti-water charge protestors held in custody for contempt of court in Dublin.

Councillors left the chamber to the chants of ‘free the five’.

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