The public are being asked to take their Irish Water bills and deposit them in a coffin as a mark of protest, to take place in Galway next week, against both the highly mistrusted body and the Government’s water charges.
The protests come after a bad week for Irish Water and its already poor reputation in Galway, with allegations that the company only informed Moyola Park residents there was kerosene in their water supply five days after the combustable liquid was first detected.
Right2Water Galway will hold ‘Bury Your Bills At The Funeral Of Irish Water’ on Saturday April 11, to coincide with the commencement of Irish Water bills arriving at people’s homes. Assembling at the Spanish Arch at 1pm that day, attendees are asked to bring water charge bills, or any envelope to symbolically represent a water bill, to be deposited in the coffin. There will also be an opportunity to sign a book of condolences to pledge not to pay the water tax. This will be followed by a march from the Spanish Arch, up Shop Street, to Eyre Square for a grand finale.
The anti-water charges movement has received a boost following the turn out of up to 80,000 people on the streets of Dublin recently. “We are asking people to attend to give confidence to others in Galway to boycott the water charges,” said Right2Water Galway’s Dette McLoughlin. “We want to send a message from Galway that the Government's attempts to undermine and besmirch our campaign is not succeeding.”
Ms McLoughlin described the water charges as an “unfair, regressive double taxation” administered by a company that “spends more than €3 million on branding, advertising, and an awareness campaign” and “has had to employ 750 extra staff to deal with the incorrect bills that are to be issued”.
Moyola Park water situation a ‘fiasco’
The already low opinion of Irish Water is set to fall even further in Galway, with allegations that the company only informed Moyola Park residents there was kerosene in the local water supply five days after its initial detection. Independent city councillor Mike Cubbard described this as “disgraceful” and has demanded that Irish Water, in future contact residents “in situations such as this immediately following detection and not after further testing”.
According to Cllr Cubbard, yesterday evening saw many homes in the estate without flowing water, owing to another round of testing. However the reasons for lack of supply “was not communicated to residents”. More tests will take place over the next a number of days, meaning residents can expect further water stoppages.
Irish Water, the Galway City Council, and the HSE are meeting on Wednesday. Cllr Cubbard has requested a group meeting for all affected residents so that they receive a full update, latest testing results, and projected end to the situation.