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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 24 February, 2020

Reducing water pressure was never an option, locals would've stopped it, says TD

Paul Murphy has also said the exclusion zone around meter installers should be broken

Irish Water workers are confronted by local residents in Raheny.
Irish Water workers are confronted by local residents in Raheny.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT HAD to roll back on threats to reduce household water to a trickle because they “simply wouldn’t be able to do it”, according to Paul Murphy TD.

Murphy told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the resistance faced by water meter installers would be nothing compared to the opposition if water pressure was being turned down as a response to the non-payment of charges:

I also think it’s a reflection of the reality that they’re having massive difficulty imposing water meters on people who don’t want them. If they went into whole areas of the country and tried to turn down people’s water pressure they simply wouldn’t be able to do it and where they succeeded it would quickly be turned back up again.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly yesterday confirmed that householders will not have their water supply reduced if they don’t pay the water charges. Kelly said that the government must move on from the language of his predecessor Phil Hogan that water will be reduced to a trickle for those who don’t pay.

On Tuesday, the High Court imposed an injunction enforcing a 20 metre exclusion zone around water meter installers after a request from GMC Sierra. The company had argued that protesters were intimidating workers and preventing installations from taking place.

Murphy today argued that this injunction should be broken and argued for “effective, militant but peaceful protests”:

“The next question is, ‘are injunctions going to be defied?’ I think they should be. I certainly would be willing to break a 20m exclusion zone,” he said, adding that there would be fierce political opposition if any protesters were jailed:

If they jailed someone for protesting against water meters look at the political crisis that would develop, and that’s the problem facing the Government.   

Read: Burton: €200 water bill for four adult family is my personal hope… and Enda is on the same page >

Read: Leo Varadkar: There’s a ‘sinister fringe’ of violent Irish Water protesters >

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Rónán Duffy

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