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First arrest for blocking water meter installation

Trim resident, Tony Rochford, blocked Irish Water vehicles from exiting a cul-de-sac.

Image: Trim News via Facebook

Updated 22:45

DESPITE FACING TWO public offence charges, Tony Rochford has deemed his protest against Irish Water yesterday a success.

The Trim resident, who became well-known last year for holding a hunger strike outside the Dáil, was arrested for obstructing traffic with his vehicle.

But achieved his goal of delaying the installation of a water meter at his house.

It is understood to be the first arrest associated with growing protests against the Irish Water across the country.

Authorities had previously warned protesters that their actions could lead to arrests.

Rochford had parked his blue Isuzu crew-cab jeep across a road in the Steeple Manor estate. According to gardaí, he was blocking access for some residents and obstructing Irish Water staff as they installed meters.

However, Rochford confirmed that only one resident required access during the time and her car was allowed through immediately.

“I’m 100% happy my meter is still not in,” he told TheJournal.ie today.

Videos of the arrest have emerged, showing Rochford discussing the problems the homeowners in the estate have had with their heating and water systems with gardaí.

He says he has tried to have the problems fixed through contacting the local authorities, TDs and the Department of the Environment.

He blames the lack of regulation in the plumbing sector for the fault and believes he should not be charged for water.

Gardaí confirmed the charges were made under the Criminal Justice (Public Order Act) 1994. Rochford was charged and bailed. He is due before Trim District Court on 5 June.

Rochford believes he will be fined, refuse to pay and be jailed.

He is also not optimistic about keeping his home water meter-free.

“I’ll try and block them,” he explained. “But they’ll just come in and do it – there’s not a lot I can do if I’m not here.”

But he will try anyway, and he has plans to attend another strike in Trim tomorrow.

Originally published 12:08

More: Tony Rochford ends hunger strike after doctor’s report

Read: Dublin man stops Irish Water workers installing meter at home 12 different times

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