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Protesters halt water meters in charges row

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DEMONSTRATION: Protesters block work being carried out to install meters in Raheny. Photo: Steve Humphreys

DEMONSTRATION: Protesters block work being carried out to install meters in Raheny. Photo: Steve Humphreys

DEMONSTRATION: Protesters block work being carried out to install meters in Raheny. Photo: Steve Humphreys

PROTESTERS are preventing Irish Water contractors from installing meters on a northside estate.

A group of demonstrators this morning continued a protest in a housing estate against the installation of water meters following a similar stand-off in Cork.

Work to install the controversial meters was disrupted for a time at Watermill Drive in Raheny yesterday, and while the installation process later continued a number of protesters returned early this morning as the work went on.

Resident Donna Ryder told the Herald she refused to allow a meter to be fitted at her home.

"I refused to have the water meter fitted. Nobody has come to me offering me a contract (to install the meter). I don't know why I should let it be fitted," Ms Ryder said.

She was joined by a group from other parts of the city, including local election candidate Bernie Hughes from the anti-austerity organisation Dublin Says No.

AFFRONT

Ms Hughes told the Herald: "I came from Finglas to support Donna.

"Water charges are an affront to the Irish people. People can't afford to pay more taxes. People are taking their own lives because they can't afford to pay their mortgages."

When the contractors arrived at 8am yesterday, Ms Ryder stood where the meter was to be installed.

"The gardai were here. They wanted me to move, but I said no. They didn't arrest me or charge me," she added.

While holes had been dug at several locations on Watermill Road, this was not the case on Watermill Drive.

In a statement, Irish Water said: "The Irish Water metering programme is one of the most ambitious of its kind, and the monthly rate of meter installation is in line with the ambitious target of installing 27,000 meters a month. To date, almost 200,000 meters have been installed.

"Irish Water respects the right to protest and endeavours to facilitate this right in so far as is reasonably possible, while maintaining the safety of the staff, the public and the site of work." Meanwhile, householders in Dollymount Grove in Clontarf told the Herald that works to install meters on their road led to a 5ft fountain of water which was left to run overnight.

One resident said the pipe started spraying the water at 10am yesterday morning and Dublin City Council were informed by the workers who were putting in the meters. It was still flowing early today.

COMURPHY@HERALD.IE


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