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Water charge a 'difficulty' for Labour

LABOUR candidates are feeling the wrath of voter outrage over water charges, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has admitted for the first time.

The controversial charges were "making life difficult" for those canvassing support for his party ahead of the local and European elections, Mr Gilmore said.

He was speaking after a video emerged of a Labour candidate who was verbally abused over her party's record.

Martina Genockey was reduced to tears after a number of individuals followed her out of an estate in Tallaght.

Asked yesterday if he accepts reports that Labour candidates are being targeted over water charges, Mr Gilmore replied: "I do actually.

"I think when there is an issue of public discussion, people want to know what the answer is what it's going to be."

Separately, Mr Gilmore was forced to clarify comments he made in the Dail which indicated that a so-called 'price freeze' would be applied for the future.

Speaking in the Dail during Leaders' Questions, Mr Gilmore said he was opposed to a scenario whereby there would be no increase in the unit cost of water.

"We need certainty, in so far as we can get it, about the years ahead. I have heard suggestions that the water charges will be a certain amount this year and double or triple that amount next year or the following year. Families should not be put in such a situation," he added.

Mr Gilmore later rejected reports that he had hinted about a potential price freeze.