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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

Irish Water doesn't want you inviting fairies to remove your meter

The utility said that requesting someone to remove your meter is an offence.

File photo of a newly installed water meter.
File photo of a newly installed water meter.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

IRISH WATER HAS moved to discourage the recent emergence of ‘water meter fairies’, who have been removing or tampering with water meters around the country.

Facebook groups and pages coordinating these activities have popped up in recent weeks, with some requesting for more people to help them to meet increased demand.

Some of these accounts have been shut down, while others are still active with several thousand followers.

Usually kitted out in a Guy Fawkes mask to hide their identity, the fairies either remove vital parts of the meter or remove the device completely, at the request of homeowners.

Under the Water Services Act 2007, it is an offence to ‘remove, damage, or impair’ the proper working of a water meter.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said this morning that “it is a criminal offence for a person to cause such removal, damage or impairment”.

The spokesperson added:

Therefore, requesting someone to remove a meter on your behalf would also constitute an offence.

A water meter fairies group in Meath claimed on Facebook that removing a meter can take just two minutes.

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The group, based in Navan, plans to throw water meters ‘over the gates of the Dáil’ during the next anti-water charges march in Dublin.

The Westmeath Topic reports that a group in Mullingar has similar plans, and has so far removed over 60 meters.

Additional reporting by Orla Ryan

Read: Protesters from Detroit and Greece are jetting in for the next big water protest >

More: Wicklow County Council votes for water charges to be scrapped >

Looking back: Water charges were scrapped in the mid-’90s, but what exactly happened? >

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Nicky Ryan

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