Blockade keeps out installers

Anti-water meters blockades at the entrances to several housing estates on Clonmel’s Fethard Road are now into their ninth day and residents have vowed to continue their vigil as long as it takes to ensure meters aren’t installed outside their homes.

Anti-water meters blockades at the entrances to several housing estates on Clonmel’s Fethard Road are now into their ninth day and residents have vowed to continue their vigil as long as it takes to ensure meters aren’t installed outside their homes.

The protests began on Tuesday, November 4 when water meter installers arrived at Willow Park, Carrigeen/Wilderness and Boherduff Heights estates.

Residents opposed to water charges and metering mounted a picket at the entrances to the three estates to prevent the meter installation company GMC/Sierra’s vans and machinery entering. After several hours, the meter installers moved away but the pickets have continued each day since from as early as 6.30am until nightfall.

“We will continue this as long as it takes,” declared Beverley Houlihan from Oakland Drive, one of the residents picketing at the entrance to the Carrigeen/Wilderness estates last Friday morning.

Ann Condon of the Clonmel Against Water Charges Campaign said the meter installation company vans have passed down the Fethard Road daily but haven’t attempted to enter the estates where protests are taking place.

A residents anti-water charges protest at the entrance to Cúirt an Rí in King Street last Friday also prevented water meter installers from entering that estate. Members of the Garda Armed Support Unit attended that blockade. Ann Condon said their presence was “a bit over the top” as the protest comprised mostly women and children. A spokesman for Clonmel Garda Station explained the unit’s officers weren’t called out to the protest and merely stopped to check it out when they were passing the area. The GMC crew returned yesterday to Cuirt an Ri but were again turned away. Meanwhile, the metering installation programme has continued in other estates around the town.

Another anti-water charges demonstration is planned for Carrick-on-Suir this Saturday, leaving the Castle Field beside Ormond Castle at 2pm and pass through the town centre to New Street Car Park.