Irish Water meeting in Cork disrupted by protests
Briefing for councillors abandoned as protesters say they ‘want answers’
Anti-water charges protesters at the Silvers Springs Moran Hotel in Cork, where an Irish Water briefing was disrupted. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
An Irish Water briefing in Cork for councillors from four local authorities was suspended yesterday after it was disrupted by anti-water charge protesters.
More than 25 councillors from Cork, Kerry and Clare attended the meeting in the Silver Springs Hotel yesterday morning for the Irish Water briefing.
A number of similar meetings are set to take place nationwide in the coming weeks.
About 25 protesters representing various anti-water charge groups interrupted proceedings at the private meeting after forcing their way into the room.
The meeting was initially suspended, before being disbanded after the protesters forced their way past a security guard. An offer to accommodate the group by allowing three protesters to attend the talks was refused.
“They wanted to keep us out but there is no way we are going to sit idly by. We want answers about what is going on,” he said.
“We have been getting stronger and stronger and stronger. Next Saturday, the Government and Irish Water will see for themselves just how the Irish people feel about water charges.”
A small number of protesters wore Halloween costumes and carried banners proclaiming: “Death to Irish Water”.
Prior to the meeting, a number of councillors expressed their dissatisfaction with the handling of the introduction of water charges.
Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton of Passage West in Cork said she was particularly disenchanted by the lack of clear communication on the matter.
“My greatest contact with Irish Water is their evening tweet every day which says: ‘We will be back online to answer your questions at nine o’clock.’
“And that is the best way of getting in contact with Irish Water, which is of course no way of getting in contact with them.”
Meanwhile, three residents objecting to the installation of Irish Water meters in Rushbrooke, Cobh, Co Cork were arrested yesterday.
Evelyn Roche, a mother of four who witnessed the arrests, criticised the Garda action.
“The protesters were taken to Cobh Garda station. They were cautioned but no charges were taken. I think they were testing the water really. But then when the three arrests were made people just stepped in to their position and no further arrests were made.”