Belfast Telegraph

'150,000 attend water protests'

More than 150,000 people attended protests across the country against water charges today, organisers have claimed.

Right2Water said that there were more than 100 gatherings in towns and cities in opposition to the charge, due to start meters ticking next January.

It was the second major day of action after tens of thousands marched through Dublin on October 11 and organisers said a "major rally" would take place outside the the Dail on December 10 - International Human Rights Day.

In a statement, the Right2Water campaign said: "Despite torrential rain, our expectations have been massively exceeded, with well over 150,000 people coming out in every neighbourhood, town and village to send a clear message to the Government: water is a human right and we demand the abolition of domestic water charges.

"Today showed the strength of public opposition to water charges in communities up and down the country.

"The time has come for the Government to accept the will of the people, abolish domestic water charges and return to the drawing board.

"Until they do, the Right2Water campaign will keep up the pressure."

The trade unions behind Right2Water - Unite, Mandate, the Civil and Public Service Union, the Communication Workers' Union and the Operative Plasterers & Allied Trades Society of Ireland - organised 27 demonstrations in Dublin alone.

They are being supported by left-wing representatives and parties, including independent TDs, Sinn Fein, the United Left Alliance and the Socialist Party.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader and Louth TD, spoke after a rally in Dundalk, saying: "It is clear that the Fine Gael/Labour Government has totally underestimated the level of public anger at the imposition of domestic water charges and the determination that now exists to defeat them.

"The establishment of Irish Water and the imposition of domestic water charges has been a fiasco from the start.

"Citizens have had enough of relentless austerity, new taxes and charges. They have said loudly and clearly that they will not accept the water tax.

"This Government must listen to the people and end its imposition of water charges."

Richard Boyd Barrett, the People Before Profit TD and one of the Right2Water campaign organisers, said: "Michael Noonan is totally fooling himself if he thinks this is the last rally of the rebellion that is now under way against the water charges.

"The genie of people power is out of the bottle and it won't be easy for this government to put it back in unless they bow to the will of the people and abolish water charges."

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