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Water Meter Resistance in Dublin North East

02/05/14

Over recent days resistance to the installation of water meters has escalated dramatically in the Twenty-Six Counties. The wave of protests began in the Ashbrook Heights estate in Togher in Cork City early last week when residents blocked Irish Water contractors from installing water meters in their estate. Despite threats of arrest and prosecution from the Gardaí and physical assault by Irish Water contractors the residents have now remained firm in their opposition for two full weeks. All of those involved in the Ashbrook blockade are due great thanks from the people of Ireland.

Ciaran Heaphey with local residents in Kilbarrack

Day 1 – Wednesday, April 23

On Wednesday April 23rd the protests spread to Raheny in Dublin 5 when ‘Dublin Says No’ activists working with local residents blocked Irish Water from installing meters. Contractors responded to the protest with abuse and thinly veiled threats.

Day 2 – Thursday, April 24

Protest spread to Watermill Road and Station Road in Raheny following request from local resident. Works are again stopped with residents and Dublin Says No activists peacefully surrounding Irish Water vehicle, temporarily preventing it from being used in installation activity elsewhere.

Day 3 – Friday, April 25

Day begins with ongoing protest on Station Road. Motorists and pedestrians alike provide continuous support to the protest. éirígí activist from Coolock area join protest in solidarity with Raheny community. As day progressed word comes through of Irish Water attempting to install meters in Edenmore Crescent. In a tactic that has since been often repeated protesters form a ‘flying column’ and headed for Edenmore.

As Irish Water workers attempted to begin works they were met by a peaceful blockade which prevented them from continuing. As residents began to realise what was afoot they poured onto the street – to join the protest. Young and old alike together in opposition t to the unjust water tax and in defence of Ireland’s natural resources.

An RTÉ Radio 1 reporter who was in the area to cover the upcoming local elections, were unable to ignore the protests. A number of local residents and activists, including éirígí’s Ciaran Heaphey, were interviewed about the protests giving the cause much needed state-wide publicity.

At the height of the Edenmore protest up to 60 people stood shoulder to shoulder against Irish Water and the future privatisation of Ireland’s water supplies.

Day 5 – Sunday, April 27

As éirígí member, who has been made aware of Irish Water’s plans to begin Water Meter installation in Briarfield Road in Kilbarrack during the following week, begins knocking doors encouraging residents of that road to join a protest when Irish Water arrive.

Day 6 – Monday, April 28

Following the weekend break the good citizens of Edenmore are back on their streets to prevent Irish Water from carrying out any works. Protests in Donaghmede and Raheney also continue with the game of cat and mouse that is developing between protesters/communities and Irish Water contractors.

Resistance in Edenmore

Day 7 – Tuesday, April 29

Residents of Briarfiled Road step up to the mark and block Irish Water from installing any further meters at about 9am. Residents from Edenmore make their way to Kilbarrack in a show of working class solidarity. Activists from éirígí, Dublin Says No, SWP, SP, SF and the RNU all providing support to community-led demonstrations across multiple sites in the Dublin 5 areas of Raheny, Edenmore, Donaghmede and Kilbarrack. Reports of other areas across the Capital getting ready for the fight back continue to grow.

Day 8 – Wednesday, April 30

As news comes through of Irish Water contractors injuring a protester in Cork the protests continue across Dublin 5. National media coverage of the protests is increasing as the spontaneous community mobilisations become too big to ignore. Kilbarrack residents march Irish Water contractors out of their area, along with their Garda minders. Word coming in off protests and planned protest in the Royal County.

Day 9 – Thursday, May 1

Irish Water think the better of going into Kilbarrack again. Edenmore and Kilbarrack residents working more closely together, exchanging phone numbers and social media contacts. The mood is close to electric. People power in action. News comes through that residents in Clarehall have come out, apparently without any prior organisation or outside assistance, to block Irish Water.

Day 10 – Friday May 2

Irish Water appear to have withdrawn from Kilbarrack, Edenmore and Donaghmede. Works in the Woodbine Estate in Raheny are stopped following protests.

The diary above shows what people power can achieve. While political activists played a role in Cork and in Dublin they could not, and did not, stop Irish Water without the active support of significant numbers of people from within the affected communities. Despite the widespread apathy and despair it is clear that the people of Ireland are not yet broken – that communities are still willing and able to fight against injustice.

Communities in Cork and in Dublin North East have shown the way with their active blockades of Irish Water’s efforts to install meters in their areas. Over the coming days and weeks it must be hoped that other communities will follow their lead.

For our part we in éirígí stand full-square behind any community that is willing to resist any aspect of the austerity policies of the Leinster House and Stormont regimes. We believe that people power can triumph through the intelligent and strategic use of the available means including protests, industrial action, direct action, civil disobedience, elections and boycott.

If you are interested in opposing Water Meter installations in your area feel free to contact us at eirigigeneralsecretary@gmail.com and we’ll help you in whatever way we can.

 

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