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Thousands more to take to the streets over water

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Taking to the streets: Protesters show their anger during a water charges demonstration in Dublin. Photo: Collins Photos

Taking to the streets: Protesters show their anger during a water charges demonstration in Dublin. Photo: Collins Photos

Taking to the streets: Protesters show their anger during a water charges demonstration in Dublin. Photo: Collins Photos

THOUSANDS of water protesters are set to take to the country's streets again today as the deadline for registering households for charges looms.

The focal point of the demonstrations will be the capital, but rallies are also taking place in other cities and towns.

The protest comes as Irish Water confirmed that about 660,000 households still haven't registered for billing ahead of the deadline on Monday.

Marchers in Dublin will assemble at 2pm at Connolly and Heuston stations and walk along either side of the quays and meet on O'Connell Street.

Among those involved are the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) and Dublin Say No.

AAA TD Paul Murphy was asked about the expected size of the protest on Newstalk radio yesterday.

"In terms of the protest on Saturday, one thing to stress is that this is not a national protest in Dublin taking place on Saturday," he said.

"This won't have the same character as the major protest which took place before Christmas," he said.

Scuffles

December's protest saw tens of thousands of people made their way into Dublin's Merrion Square.

There were scuffles with Gardai when a small group of protesters tried to get on to Kildare Street which had been sealed off.

Others blocked O'Connell bridge and rush-hour traffic was brought to a standstill in the city centre.

At that time the Right2Water group estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the main rally, while gardai put the figure at "30,000 plus".

That protest came despite of the government's attempt to quell the public anger with reduced water charges announced in November.

The Environment Minister Alan Kelly said the new fees were €160 for a single-person household and €260 for homes with two or more people.

He announced a €100 'water conservation grant' that would be refunded to Irish Water customers by the Department of Social Protection.

Last night Irish Water confirmed that about 660,000 households have yet to sign up to its books out of the 1.5m eligible.

While 1.06m have registered, only 837,000 of these were households that will be customers of the utility.

The remaining 220,000 are households on private water schemes.

Irish Water said unregistered households will receive the full bills without receiving the water conservation grant.

hnews@herald.ie


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