Friday 19 January 2018

Facebook group encouraging harassment of water meter workers

A water meter
A water meter
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

MEMBERS of the public are being urged to harass people employed to install water meters.

A controversial Facebook group is encouraging its followers to take photographs of the employees and post them online.

“When they are installing your water meter you have the right to photograph them from your private property, take the photos try get their faces clearly and then post them under this post in the comments lets [sic] make it impossible to live next door if you install these meters “ it says.

It also encourages members to deliberately obstruct those in the process of installing the meters, including using their children as distractions.

“if you see sierra in traffic break down in front of then [sic], if they park outside your gate go out and make them move their vans if you have to pretend you want to get your car out,,,, send your kids out to play beside the water shoar [sic] when they are working , hose down your footpath as they are trying to work, call the police and tell them the workmen are suspicious looking,

Perhaps most concerning, the group calls for members to make false calls reporting a smell of leaking gas:

“Call the gas company and tell them you can now smell gas (they absolutely have to act on this )” it claims.

Another post features a picture of a man a user claimed is in the process of installing one of the meters.

“This is the first picture of an Irish man installing these meters. He had a rural accent (possibly Cork and maybe thats [sic] the strategy Dublin men working in Cork and vice versa) but I could not get his name,” the poster claimed.

“If you are his relative talk to him maybe he is naive or misguided”, the post says.

The group also compares those installing the meters to Nazis.

“During world war 2 German soldiers while killing millions of Jews told themselves and their comrades "im [sic] just following orders" .

“It was very wrong and still is wrong to this day. We are at war with our government and yet we have irish men and women working installing these meters,” it said.

Irish Water issued a statement saying all of its employees were entitled to dignity in the workplace.

"Irish Water has commenced its three year nationwide water metering programme which will see up to 27,000 water meters being installed each month, creating 1,600 jobs and we believe everyone is entitled to dignity in the workplace.

"The Regulator, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is responsible for setting the water tariff and related issues (allowances etc.).

"It is expected the CER will hold a public consultation and we encourage everyone to participate in this process."

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