Tuesday 14 August 2018

Drogheda brought to a standstill, as Dundalk warns: 'There are no bowsies here'

Laurence McGuirk, amaong a crowd of around 5,000 protesters turn out for the Right2Water campaign at the Market square in Dundalk. Picture: Arthur Carron
Laurence McGuirk, amaong a crowd of around 5,000 protesters turn out for the Right2Water campaign at the Market square in Dundalk. Picture: Arthur Carron

Elaine Keogh

Close to 8,000 people brought Drogheda town to a standstillas they showed their support for the right2water campaign.

The crowd was told by anti-water charges spokesman Brendan Ogle that it had been a “momentous” day where more than 100,000 people had taken part in protests nationwide, and the campaign is now working towards a major event outside the Dail on the 10th December.

“December 10th is International human rights day and water is our human right and we, right2water, and other groups, are calling a people’s assembly outside the Dail at 1pm to celebrate human rights day and to advocate their human right to water.”

A pensioner, who did not want to be named took part in the Drogheda march said, “my objection is the quango they have set up. I mean big salaries, big bonuses and they just don’t care about the people and it is going to be privatised.”

Amongst the crowd was Noel Carter from Drogheda who wore a hat with a large tap on it and said, “I think it 20 years too early to pay for water. There is nobody working in the country and those that are off the dole and putting them on schemes which is wrong. That is where they are, they are not working at all.”

Also marching was Darragh O’Heiligh (32) who said the charging system for Irish Water does not take into account his guide dog which he got from the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

“There is no allowance for my guide dog. Because he is not a pet but is a working animal I believe there should be an allowance for him. He drinks 10 litres a week and I am being taxed for my independence.”

Gardai estimate that more than 1 thousand took part in the Ashbourne protest, some 2-3 thousand in Navan and several hundred in Kells and Duleek.

Brian Corr was one of more than 5,000 people in the Dundalk right2water march.

“This is a voting crowd, there are no bowsies here,” he warned Government.

He said the infrastructure problems in the water system “are because the government failed to fix it for the last 30 years.  I don’t want to pay water rates because we are already paying through our taxes for it.”

He said people took part in yesterday’s protests because this was the first opportunity for them to express themselves on an issue after a series of austerity budgets and taxes.

Sinead McCaughey was further up the crowd and said, “we are paying for water with all our other taxes and we cannot afford to pay more. I am working and just managing to live week to week. I just can’t afford something else. We already have to pay for bins, property tax, management fees  and car tax.”

One of the organisers of the Dundalk march, Maeve Curtis said “water is the source of all life. Nothing on this planet survives without water and whoever controls the water controls this planet.”

She does not believe that Irish Water will remain in public ownership and said, “I do not accept anything this government or politicians have told us. They have lied from the get go and are lying now.”

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