herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Arrests made at city water-meter protest

Several arrests were made at a water-meter protest in the capital yesterday as anti-water charge campaigners obstructed installation works.

The incidents happened in the Mount Argus estate in Harold's Cross as Irish Water workers attempted - but failed - to install meters.

Around 30 people began protesting at the estate from shortly after 1pm, while more attended the protest later on in the evening.

There was large garda presence of around 20 officers as protesters repeatedly disrupted installation works, and a garda helicopter circled overhead briefly to observe the scene.

There were minor scuffles between gardai and protesters which led to several arrests.

A total of seven people, including a minor, were arrested for obstructing installation works and were brought to Terenure Garda Station.

However, after a brief detention during which their names and addresses were verified, they were released and immediately rejoined the protest.

A source confirmed that none of the people arrested were residents of the Mount Argus estate. "None of the people arrested live in the estate where the protests were taking place, they were all residents of other areas in the city.

Disrupt

"It has become the norm for protesters from other areas to congregate at estates where water meter installations are going on to try and disrupt the works," the source said.

Several people at yesterday's protest also masked their identities by pulling caps and scarves over their faces.

An eye-witness described to the Herald how one protester had a Go-Pro camera attached to his head recording the disruptions, while another proceeded to document car registration plates of vehicles in the area.

Irish Water worker's were subsequently slow-marched out of the Mount Argus estate behind a cordon of protesters, and finally managed to leave the area at around 7pm.

In a separate demonstration, around 200 people protested outside the Irish Water headquarters on Talbot Street.

Extra security measures were put in place to prevent any serious incident.

Three demonstrators briefly managed to gain access to the Irish Water building and refused to leave, but they were eventually moved on.

There was a small garda presence to keep a watch over proceedings, but no arrests were made at the Talbot Street demonstration and the protest remained peaceful.

rschiller@herald.ie

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