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Water Protesters – A Siege & A change in Tactics

Irish Water

Irish Water Metre Installers leaving Rialto

Water Protesters – A Siege & A change in Tactics

Its midway through week 6 since Irish Water metre installers have landed in Dublin 8. On Wednesday 11th March, I drove up Gilbert Road, near Donore Ave, to see how this surreal siege between protesters and Irish Water has been developing. I was first met by a mini bus, which is being used to transport Garda from site to site of possible confrontations.  Also operating in the area where two Irish Water vans, and one low back truck, which still had its equipment on board, including, a mini digger and barricades.

There were 11 protesters who were following an obstructiveness philosophy (standing in the way of installation sites etc.)  though to their credit they were peaceful.  My inquiries with these people revealed that they had been there since just after 7 am when a “lookout” spotted the Irish Water vans pulling into Gilbert Road. As for the Irish Water workers themselves, 9 such workers were just hanging around chatting and whiling the time away.  What I found surprising was the doggedness of these protesters to stand their ground so early in the day.   Irish Water has found this problem similarly, perplexing. So much so that one protest group is claiming that the company has engaged in arguably illegal methods to deal with these people’s resolve.

In Bray, last week, it is alleged that Irish Water installers tried to begin work at 5 am. They were rebuked by a quickly assembled group of protesters. However, according to “Fight the Water Tax Legally” Facebook campaign there is a legal curfew in place that states that any construction company cannot start work in public areas till after 8 am. I quizzed one of the Irish Water workers present on Gilbert Road.  He was under the impression that there was no problem for them to set up at 5 am, presumably meaning that the company had secured some form of exception to this law. Whether this is true or not, I will pursue in future updates.

Irish Water left Gilbert Road just after 3 pm followed closely by the Garda. No water meters where installed on Gilbert Road that day. One protester commented that they believed in and around 20 water meters had been successfully installed in the Rialto/Cork Street area. Progress is slow for Irish Water despite changes in tactics, resistance in this area appears to be particularly firm.

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