Monday 24 October 2016

Protesters halt meter installers for second day

Disruption: Demonstrators and gardai at the water meter protests in Harold's Cross
Disruption: Demonstrators and gardai at the water meter protests in Harold's Cross

Protesters obstructed Irish Water workers from installing meters for a second consecutive day in the Harold’s Cross area of the capital. Several protesters gathered in the rain to halt the works, with a small number of gardai also present.

Workers arrived at around 11am and were met by demonstrators, some of whom had their faces covered.

Gardai arrived on the scene shortly afterwards.

However, there were no arrests and the protest passed off without any major incident.

Irish Water contractors eventually left the area after a discussion with gardai.

The obstruction yesterday was in stark contrast to demonstrations in the Mount Argus Grove estate the previous day, when seven protesters were arrested.

All seven, including a juvenile, were detained under Section 12 of the Water Services Act 2007.

The act allows gardai to detain a person who “obstructs or interferes with the exercise by a water services authority or any other prescribed person or powers vested in him or her”.

The act also allows for gardai to make an arrest if they feel a person is obstructing or interfering with “the compliance by any person, including the owner or occupier of a premises, with the provisions of this Act or of any notice, direction or order issued under it”.

All seven people arrested were taken to Terenure Garda Station where they were detained for around 15 minutes before being released without charge.

They then made their way back to the Mount Argus Grove estate where they continued to obstruct installation works.

A source confirmed to the Herald that none of the people arrested were residents of the Mount Argus Grove estate, but that they included people who “regularly attend water demonstrations”.

A video also emerged online of a garda vehicle with its engine revving and being made to look like it was being driven at protesters.

The video, which was taken in the Mount Argus Grove estate, shows protesters standing in front of the car as it attempts to leave the estate.

Footage then shows the vehicle revving its engine and slightly shunting towards protesters, which was described as an “accident” by witnesses.


Although the vehicle made no contact with protesters, the crowd reacted angrily, though the tension eventually calmed.

A garda helicopter briefly observed the scene, and a large number of gardai were present at the estate until protesters finally agreed to let Irish Water workers leave.

Contractors received what has become the obligatory “slow-march” out of the area, in which protesters walk ahead of the workers’ vehicles as they exit the area.


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