Belfast Telegraph

Thousands to join new water rally

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Dublin this afternoon for the latest national demonstration against water charges.

The Right2Water campaign has organised buses to transport protesters from all parts of the country to three meeting points in the city ahead of a major rally on O'Connell Street.

Organisers also vowed the march will be peaceful after some militant opposition to the contentious tax at a number of small scale protests over the last few months.

The march has been organised from Heuston Station, Connolly Station and Merrion Square with participants gathering at O'Connell Bridge for the rally.

One of the political parties backing the march, People Before Profit, said the turnout would demonstrate a massive show of hatred for the Government's policies of austerity, taxes and cuts.

"It will be a momentous day because it will show that the Irish Water fiasco has run its course," Dublin city councillor Brid Smith said.

"Once Irish Water is dead the government might consider using the money Irish Water is wasting on legal fees, consultants and bonuses and actually invests in the water system of this country which they, and successive establishment governments have done nothing about in the past."

The three-way march and expected large turnout prompted business figures in the capital to urge a reroute.

Richard Guiney, chief executive of We are DublinTown, the city's Business Improvement District, said it was designed to cause maximum disruption to the 375,000 people normally in the city on a Saturday afternoon.

"Our view is that the most appropriate location for people to articulate their concerns is Merrion Square. the seat of the Oireachtas and Government Buildings," he said.

"For us it is a matter of respect where in a mature society all people are respected equally. This included the ordinary Dubliners who want to come into their city to meet their friends and socialise."

People Before Profit hit out earlier in the week at what they said was the sensationalisation of scuffles at protests.

Five protesters were jailed last month for breaching court orders not to interfere with the installation of water meters.

This week Irish Water revealed 1.23 million households have registered for bills with the new utility - about two thirds of the total.

Elsewhere, it also emerged the company is spending 650,000 euro on an eight-week campaign to explain where water comes from.

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