Water protests

Meter installer warned "I know where you live… I’m going to blow your head off”

Protesters also kept crew members under surveillance and called them “scabs,” “scum,” and “paedophiles” Irish Water has said.

IRISH WATER HAS written to Dublin City Council detailing how meter installers working on the northside have been subjected to threats and intimidation by water protesters.

Groups opposed to water charges have been mounting rolling protests against the installation of meters in the Dublin 5 and Dublin 13 areas since April of this year.

The demonstrations have grown in scale and intensity in recent months, leading to a number of confrontations between protesters and residents on one side, and contractors and Gardaí on the other.

Several protesters have ended up in court after being told to observe an exclusion zone around sites where metering work is taking place.

For their part, locals taking part in the protests against metering have accused Gardaí of using unnecessarily heavy-handed tactics to deal with crowds.

And at its October meeting, members of Dublin City Council backed a motion “deploring recent excessive mobilisation of Gardaí including the Public Order Unit into housing estates in Ayrfield , Edenmore, Donaghmede and Clare Hall”.

Acknowledging that motion in his letter to the Council, Irish Water’s head of capital delivery Fergus Collins said protesters had blocked and damaged cars and vans transporting GMC/Sierra contractors to work sites.

Tyres had also been slashed, and barriers and signs burnt, he said. Protesters also kept crew members under surveillance issuing threats and calling them “scabs,” “scum,” “paedophiles”.

Workers had also been headbutted and punched, he claimed.

Collins also referred to a video in which a protester can be heard threatening “don’t tell me what to do..  I know where you live… I’m going to blow your head off”. (3.22 in clip below).

“Irish Water respects the right to protest and endeavours to facilitate this right in so far as is reasonably possible, while maintaining the safety of the staff, the public and the site of work,” Collins said in his letter.

Whilst many of the protestors exercise their right to protest in a peaceful manner there are a significant number of individuals who, I am advised, have targeted individual members of the metering team.

Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke held a meeting with senior Gardaí in the area in the wake of a large-scale clash between residents and local officers in the Clare Hall estate in October.

Speaking afterwards, he said it had been “largely positive” and that the concerns of councillors had been passed on.

Read: Gardaí called in to support Irish Water contractors at Raheny protest

Read: Anger outside Coolock Garda Station after water charge protesters are arrested

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