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Going up in Smoke, Locals Burn Water Bills


Going up in Smoke, Locals Burn Water Bills

You don’t have to saunter too far off the beaten course in the Dublin 8 to find out how strongly the local residents feel about Irish Water. “No water meters” signs adorn every second window down quite Rialto lanes, while installing water meters has been turned into one giant game of capture the flag. So, it should surprise no one that when the first of these controversial water bills made it through local letter boxes there was a rapid reaction.

On Thursday the 16th of May from Fatima to Driminagh, local people turned out in huge numbers to voice their concerns about Irish Water and their new bills. The meeting took place outside the Grotto in Maryland, it was organised by counsellors in opposition to Irish Water. Local people present seemed highly alarmed by Labour insinuation that the State would take the water charges directly from people’s wages and their social welfare payments. It was felt at the meeting that this system would frankly be unworkable and ultimately, would be highly costly for the government parties come election time.

What struck me was that there was a real sense of defiance at the meeting. Looking at the mainstream media, particularly, in the wake of gay marriage referendum, one would be forgiven for thinking that the water protest had all but dissipated. Standing at that meeting I felt that no one told these people, the war was not over from their perspective as they seemed steadfast in their resolve.

It was agreed that in this spirit of civil disobedience that people would meet the following Monday at the Grotto to burn their water bills. I decided to attend this event to cover for your favourite newswire, and despite the bad weather, a number of people did turn up to show the government that their protest would continue. A tin bin was placed among the wet crowd and the controversial bills were placed inside before being set a light. Once on fire there was a big cheer from the group, and some people even sang and danced. These meetings are still ongoing around the Dublin 8 area.

The nation may be recovering from the “Love hangover” but the day to day problems of water charges and indeed, housing issues still are on the forefront of the majority’s mind. The junior party in government may think that pursuing solely a liberal agenda may spare them at the polls, however from what I have seen, “the people on the ground” ‘s problems are more practical and not in the government’s programme. These problems will not be so easily solved.


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