Irish protests against ‘paid water’ turn grim
Last week more than 100.000 Irish citizens protested all over the country against ‘paid water’. The national water company Irish Water started in 2014 with installing water meters and the day that Irish people will get their first water bill is getting close. According to the Irish protesters ‘Water is human Right’ and they are not prepared to pay for it.
The protesters in Dublin were getting help from protest groups of the US city of Detroit and Greek protesters. The Right2Water campaign is planning another mass rally outside the Irish Parlement (Dáil) on 10 December. In the meantime the work of installing the water meters in several areas in Dublin has been postponed because protesters disturbed the installation of water meters. The installation company, GMC Sierra, has decided to delay further work in violent areas until they have reviewed the impact of a High Court order creating a 20-metre exclusion zone around water meter installations.
Citizens are also worried that they will have to pay for leakages in the water system. Irish Water has previously said that it would not charge fixing leaks in a homeowner’s garden the first time, but after that, they are on their own. The next time it happens, they will have to pay for it to be fixed, as well as facing a potentially significant water bill.
In Ireland citizens were not used to paying for water consumption, but have to start paying now. Over 1 million water meters will be installed the coming years. Irish Water, a fusion of 34 regional water authorities, has become part of the commercial, national energy company Bord Gais and has been subject of controversy since it started. Spending more than 50 million Euros to consultancy fees, was not improving the image of the new water company.