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Damien O'Neill, Paul Moore and Derek Byrne.
Damien O'Neill, Paul Moore and Derek Byrne.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

"We are winning this campaign": Families tell water protesters to stop hunger strike

The call comes amid reports that the three protesters who had been on hunger strike – Paul “Ollie” Moore, Derek Byrne and Damien O’Neill – had ended their action.
Feb 24th 2015, 7:05 AM 15,396 194

THE FAMILIES OF the four water meter protesters jailed last week have urged them to come home strong.

The call comes amid reports that the three protesters who had been on hunger strike – Paul “Ollie” Moore, Derek Byrne and Damien O’Neill – had ended their action.

A statement released on behalf of families of the three men and Bernie Hughes, who was also jailed for contempt of court, urges the four to come back “strong and healthy to continue the campaign”.

A fifth man, Michael Batty, is out of the country for medical reasons and is expected to purge his contempt when he returns.

The families also welcomed what they termed the “overwhelming solidarity” expressed by individuals and communities up and down the country.

“Our loved ones – Ollie, Bernie, Damien and Derek – have sacrificed enough in our struggle against austerity, and we send them this message:

“Your jailing is a mark of your commitment to your families, your communities and our campaign. You have given the Irish people license to stand on their own two feet and believe in what they are fighting for.

“We are winning this campaign. You would not be in prison if we were not winning. We need you all to come out of jail strong and healthy, so that we can continue together on the road to victory. We are therefore appealing to you to stop refusing sustenance, and to concentrate on building up your strength.”

Today’s Irish Independent quotes Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy as saying the three men had ended their hunger strike, though this has been disputed.

He added the men were no longer on 23-hour lockdown in prison.

Protests for Labour conference

Meanwhile, Ireland Says No has released details of its planned national anti-austerity demonstration in Killarney.

It will coincide with the Labour Party Conference next Saturday in Killarney.

The rally will meet at 12 noon at Market Cross, before marching to the Labour Party conference. It is anticipated that there will be a number of speakers who will address the crowd.

At last weekend’s Fine Gael Ard Fheis, there was heavy security, and around 170 protesters turned up outside the venue.

Read: Gardaí called to Cork City Council after water protesters storm meeting

Read: In photos: Two men arrested after water meter van blocked with staff inside

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Paul Hosford

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