Thursday, June 11, 2015

Residents 1, Irish Water 0

The residents of a housing estate on the western fringes of Galway City secured a small but significant moral victory this week when they forced workmen to abandon plans to install contentious water meters in their estate.

After 27 of the 30 householders in the Garrai Dhonnail estate signed a petition to oppose the installation of Irish Water meters, Gardai were called and a two hour stand-off ensued.
The workmen from Murphy’s, acting on behalf of Irish Water, eventually agreed to take down barricades they had placed across stop cocks in the estate and to leave the estate without installing any meters.

Resisting the meters this week

Residents were delighted at the result of what they described as a “peaceful community effort” and have urged those living in other estates in Knocknacarra to follow their lead.

A friend of mine who lives in the estate said the protest was an excellent example of a community standing together – the vast majority of householders had expressed opposition to Irish Water when the first bills began to arrive in recent weeks.

He said there was no trouble during the stand-off and the residents who staged a protest were representing the views of the vast majority of Garrai Dhonnail residents.

He said that the stand-off was good humoured. Residents had voted 27-3 against the installation of meters and he joked that one household was split “50-50” in relation to the vote.

Gardai did not intervene after being called to the scene during a tense stand-off in which the residents and workmen took photos of each other.

“This goes to show that with organised peaceful protest we can all help to show our resistance to what many believe to be an unfair and unjust tax with yet another questionable company that involves in Denis O'Brien,” said a statement from the residents.

It is only in the past week or so that sub-contractors have begun to install meters in Galway City, starting in the Cappagh Road area of Knocknacarra.

Workmen had moved on to other estates in the vicinity, where there was less resistance, by Thursday morning.

Volunteers from Right 2 Water have maintained a presence in local housing estates, so that “alerts” can be sent out when the workmen arrive. 

Recent revelations regarding the controversial sale of Siteserv by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) have hardened the resolve of residents to oppose the new water charges.

Thomas Pringle TD told the Dail this week that over 800,000 householders have not paid their Irish Water bills, despite the mid-May deadline. 
Signs of resistance in Garrai Dhonnail

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