Independent TD Seamus Healy warned householders at an anti-water charges protest march rally attended by about 400 people in Carrick-on-Suir last Saturday not to be taken in by lower water charge rates being announced by the Government this week.
The Workers & Unemployment Action Group leader told the rally at New Street Car Park that water charges will end up like the refuse charges that started out small but have now grown to about €300 per year and are privatised in many areas of the country.
“The refuse charge was introduced at a very small figure of €5 with a waiver (for people on low incomes).
“I remembered being ridiculed at meetings in the (Clonmel) Corporation by other members, who said it was only the price of a box of matches.
“Now refuse charges cost €300 per year there is no waiver and it’s privatised. That is what will happen if we allow them to bring in this tax,” he declared.
Deputy Healy described the water charge as the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for tax payers, who have been “absolutely fleeced” with austerity taxes over the last few years.
He urged those opposed to them to keep up the fight to get them abolished.
The Right To Water anti-water charges march, the second in Carrick-on-Suir this month, was organised by the Carrick-on-Suir Right to Water Campaign.
The demonstrators walked two rounds of the march route, which began at Castle Field and went down part of Main Street, turned onto Chapel St., William St and up New Street finishing at the car park opposite the Town Hall.
At the rally afterwards, Carrick SF Cllr David Dunne of the Carrick-on-Suir Right to Water Campaign, echoed Deputy Healy’s warning.
He told protesters there will be a lot of “gimmicks” offered by the Government this week.
“I guarantee once we get on the treadmill it (the water charge) will only go up and up,” he said before urging everyone opposed to water charges to stay united.
A round of applause was given at the rally to residents from the Fethard Road and Cuirt an Ri in Carrick-on-Suir, who prevented water meters installers entering their housing estates over the past two weeks through protest blockades.
People Before Profit activist Ann Condon of both the Carrick-on-Suir Right to Water and Clonmel Anti-Water Charges Campaigns paid tribute to these Clonmel residents groups, some of whom took part in the Carrick protest march.
Another Carrick-on-Suir Right to WaterCampaign member Eddie Reade of the Socialist Republican Eirigi group, urged people opposed to water charges to lobby their local TDs and senators to oppose passing the new legislation being introduced in the Dail that will allow water charges to be taken from wages and social welfare payments.
After the speeches, you could hear a pin drop in the crowd as Katie Loughlin read the letter to the editor of the Irish Independent written by Cork mother Donna Hartnett about why the water charges were a tax too far for her family and had prompted her to decide to give up her full-time job to take care of her two small children.
The letter was widely publicised in the media last week because it touched a chord with the plight of many hard pressed tax payers.
The rally ended with a medley of songs ranging from “A long Way to Tipperary” to “A Nation Once Again” sung by Pat Murphy and finally Amhran na bhFiann.