Clonmel residents object to water meters - water supply is ‘horrible’

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Residents from Willow Park, Clonmel picketing against the installation of water meters and proposed water charges. l-r: Tracey O'Meara with Sally (the dog), Cllr. Pat English (Independent), Mary Goldsberry, Helen Walsh and Conor Kelly.
Residents objecting to water meters being installed at their homes on estates on Clonmel’s Fethard Road cited the poor quality of their water supply as one of their key reasons for opposing the new water tax.

Residents objecting to water meters being installed at their homes on estates on Clonmel’s Fethard Road cited the poor quality of their water supply as one of their key reasons for opposing the new water tax.

Among the residents manning the picket line at the entrance to Carrigeen/Wilderness last Friday morning were Beverley Houlihan and Anne-Marie Scali both from Oakland Drive.

“We are already paying a water charge,” said Beverley Houlihan. “A percentage of the money I pay towards my car tax goes into water services. Besides, our water is horrible. It’s very hard. We go through kettles, washing machines and even the elements in our hot press cylinders have to be changed often.”

She believes residents like her living with a hard water supply should get their water charges waivered.

Anne Marie Scali obtains her drinking water from a supply in the Comeragh Mountains, which she boils. She said people wouldn’t be opposing this new tax if the Government spent the money on fixing and upgrading the water supply infrastructure first, scrapped the metering and levied a fixed water charge affordable to everyone.

“I have five kids and we are paying out so much already for so many different charges. This is just one step too far. Three of my boys are teenagers, am I to tell them you can only take a shower once a week.”

At the entrance to Willow Park on Wednesday evening, November 5, children joined the adults at the picket, waving placards and chanting “Irish water will be free” and “We won’t pay” at passing traffic. Residents Tara Gill and Conor Kelly also cited the poor quality of their water supply as one of their main reasons for protesting. They both buy their drinking water in supermarkets every week. “I am not paying for something that isn’t clean,” said Tara.

Another Willow Park resident Helen Walsh described the new charge as a very unfair tax that will turn water into a luxury,

Jerome Guiry from Boherduff Close was among a group of 23 people protesting across the road at the entrance to Boherduff Heights. He was sceptical of Labour leader Joan Burton’s statement that day about the water charge only costing about €200 for a family of four.

“When the bills start coming in there will be no stopping them and the charges will rise all the time. There is no honesty. They (the Government) are striking out at the under privileged of this country all the time.”

Deborah Smith, who had been protesting since 7am that morning, said she would protest for as long as it takes.

“I can’t afford to pay the charge. It’s as simple as that. The Government are after taking everything from us.”