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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 February, 2020
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Meter installers are being offered counselling ... but Irish Water say they're not paying for it

“We’re civil engineers and not trained to deal with this, getting physical and mental abuse is not something we ever envisaged.”

The work at St Lawrence's Road in Clontarf was completed.
The work at St Lawrence's Road in Clontarf was completed.
Image: Ronan Duffy/TheJournal.ie

Update 6.00am

GMC SIERRA WORKERS have been offered counselling to help deal with the stress of protests according to a supervisor at a site in Dublin yesterday.

The contractor was speaking after anti-water-charge protesters attempted to stop GMC workers repairing leaks on a street in Clontarf.

The supervisor said that dealing with protesters had become a daily occurrence for them, adding that some workers have been offered and had availed of counselling as a result of it.

He claimed that he had been struck in the arm while on site over the past year and been spat at and called “a traitor”.

“We’re civil engineers and not trained to deal with this, getting physical and mental abuse is not something we ever envisaged,” he said.

He accepted that people have a right to peacefully protest and even have a right to come from other areas to protest but that this should not include threatening behaviour.

He claimed that some of his colleagues had even experienced instances of men turning up at their houses in the middle of the night. One, who lived as far away as Dundalk, allegedly experienced a case of men shouting through his letterbox in the middle of the night.

A statement from Irish Water says it is aware that GMC Sierra has provided counselling service to its workers, adding that they are not paying for that support:

As part of the contract the regional contractor was appointed as the PSCS and is responsible for all site based activities including security and well-being of staff. Irish Water cannot comment on employment assistance programmes offered by the regional contractors. However ,we can confirm that there is no cost to Irish Water associated with this.

Leaks

The GMC worker spoke after a handful of protesters gathered on St. Lawrence Road on Dublin’s northside after a local resident had called Irish Water about leaks on the street.

He told TheJournal.ie that the protesters had come from a nearby area.

“They weren’t local but basically they came down and tried to tell us what to do.”

A post on the ‘Kilmore/coolock says no to water meters’ Facebook page had made a call for followers to make their way down to the street.

That area is about a 10 minute drive from St. Lawrence’s Road.

irish water Source: Kilmore/coolock says no to water meters

The worker also claimed that the protesters proceeded to switch off their equipment as they attempted to repair the leak and install new piping.

Gardaí from the Clontarf station were called to the scene and stayed for a time. The protesters left soon afterwards.

The street itself is fully installed with water meters and the GMC workers had been called out as part of Irish Water’s first fix scheme.

Irish Water says it has detected more than 30,000 leaks and contacted 2,500 customers to offer them a free leak investigation.

The resident who requested the work confirmed that they had contacted Irish Water:

“The road here has water meters installed and when they were installed it was discovered that there were leaks. I contacted Irish Water and was given a commitment that the leaks would be fixed. That was a number of months ago now but they’ve come out today and I’m happy with it.”

IMG_1596 Source: Ronan Duffy/TheJournal.ie

The resident said that they did not speak to the protesters who were outside their home but added that “they don’t seem to understand that this is about water conservation”.

Read: Dublin residents halt water meter installation in protest against charges >

Read: Woman left bloodied after gardaí attempt to move anti-water charge protesters >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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