herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Calls to 'obstruct' water meter workers criticised

HOMES: Councillor wants protest action

Ruth Coppinger. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Ruth Coppinger. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

WATER meter workers should be allowed to install the systems without facing a "battle ground", union bosses have warned.

Socialist Party Councillor Ruth Coppinger has been galvanising opposition against the controversial meters. And she has urged homeowners to stand in front of anyone trying to install a meter outside their home.

This community initiative would form part of a "peaceful protest", Cllr Coppinger explained.

Cllr Coppinger's suggestion comes as the roll-out of the new meters began yesterday in Co Kildare.

However, unions have said that employees of Irish Water should be free to carry out their duties.

Michael Wall of IMPACT – which represents the majority of local authority workers in Irish Water – said it would be "like taking your anger over taxation out on the person behind the counter in the tax office."

"If you want to make a protest you should take it to the political arena," he added.

But Cllr Coppinger told The Herald that homeowners had every right to resist the installation of meters.

Cllr Coppinger did not accept that the protest could put jobs at risk and said "instead of spending €500m installing the meters the Government could spend it on fixing the leaks in the system."

Respect

However, the idea of a protest has been rejected by opposition party Fianna Fail spokesperson on the environment, Barry Cowen TD.

Mr Cowen said that he hoped the roll-out would be carried out with "the utmost professionalism and respect".

Fingal Cllr Coppinger plans to call public meetings in her own area before the meters are installed in October to see if locals are in favour of this type of action. She said the meters are "profit-driven" and "nothing to do with water conservation".

csheehy@herald.ie

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