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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Photocall Ireland
# Good Friday
Water protesters in Donegal had their homes raided by gardaí
The raids took place on the morning of Good Friday after Irish Water property was reported stolen.

GARDAÍ IN DONEGAL raided two homes in Letterkenny on the morning of Good Friday seeking items allegedly taken from on-street meter installation sites by Irish Water protesters.

A spokesperson confirmed Gardaí at Milford were investigating “the theft of a number of items which are the property of Irish Water” which were reported missing the previous day.

A number of searches took place at homes in the Letterkenny area, the spokesperson said “and items were recovered”.

A local independent councillor and anti-water charges campaigner said two members of the ‘Water Warriors’ group – which has been staging protests and campaigns of direct action against the installation of meters in Donegal – had their homes raided. The officers who carried out the searches had proper warrants in both cases.

Councillor Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, who has been speaking with the two householders, said people involved in the protest movement were “very frightened” in the wake of the raids, which happened between 9am and 10am on Good Friday.

The councillor said “worthless” pieces of scrap plastic left on a path by contractors had been taken by a group of protesters. The plastic casings – which he maintained were “broken, dirty and old” – would have been replaced with new material during the installation process, he said.

However, Mac Giolla Easbuig said the material was disposed of by the activists and maintained none was found in the home searches.

He said a number of €2 plastic plugs – which campaign groups have been offering for sale around the country – were taken from one of the houses. (Activists have been encouraging people to remove their water meters and uses the caps to keep their supply flowing – it’s not something Irish Water endorses).

Placards calling for a boycott of Irish Water were also taken, he said – adding that none of the items found were property of the utility.

Mac Giolla Easbuig said an anti-charges demonstration would take place on Saturday 25 April in Letterkenny – and called on people to turn out and voice their opposition to the raids.

He said the people whose homes were searched were planning to make a complaint to Garda watchdog body GSOC.

Read: Paul Murphy was a bit concerned there wouldn’t be enough bills to bin at his ‘Bin your Bills’ protest

Read: What would happen if Sinn Féin scraps Irish Water and water charges?

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