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Signed And Sealed

Lipstick 'traitor' sign hung on Áras gates as President rubber-stamps contentious bill

Dozens of protesters gathered in near freezing temperatures in the Phoenix Park today, carrying candles, banners and flags.

Updated at 6.30pm

PROTESTERS DRAPED A tricolour and attached anti-water charges banners to the gates of Áras an Uacharáin this afternoon, as around 50 people gathered at the locked gates in near freezing temperatures.

The demonstration had been planned in advance by the Tallaght-based ‘Kingswood Says No’ group, but it just happened to coincide with President Higgins’ confirmation that he had signed the contentious Water Services Bill into law. 

Opposition TDs and senators had made an 11th hour appeal asking Michael D Higgins to refer the bill to the Council of State.

However a press release from the Áras earlier said the legislation had been signed into law after being given due consideration by the President “taking into account Bunreacht na hÉireann including Article 26 and the submissions received”.

A protester who gave her name only as ‘Amy’ said she had hung the ‘traitor’ sign (written, on a whim, in lipstick) on the gate “because he’s a Labour traitor”.

“He’s signing everything and he’s going against the people,” she said.

Daragh Brophy / Daragh Brophy / /

Charlene Ní Kinnegad of ‘Kingswood Says No’ said the demonstration had been organised for the last weekend of the year to send a signal to Government that the protests would not end.

We’re taking this year out the way we’re bringing the next year in — and it’s a simple ‘no, we won’t be paying’ and ‘enough is enough’.

She said water charges were “the straw that broke the camel’s back” after years of austerity and warned of a “tsunami” of protest to come in 2015.

“This is only the start of it,” she added.

Demonstrators — some carrying candles, as well as their signs, flags and banners — were beginning to leave the area as arrived, shortly after 4.30pm.

The atmosphere was calm, and around ten uniformed Gardaí stood around monitoring the action, and chatting with participants. Ní Kinnegad thanked the officers on duty as she left.

One demonstrator said he had rung the intercom, but that there had been no answer from inside.

Daragh Brophy / Daragh Brophy / /

IMG_0448 Daragh Brophy / Daragh Brophy / /

Read: President Michael D Higgins has signed the Water Services Bill >

Read: 49 TDs and senators in eleventh-hour appeal to Michael D over Water Bill

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