Water Protests

Live updates from around the country as water charge protesters take to the streets

Conor Pope Sat, Nov 1
LIVE: Water Protests

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  • 10:10

    “Let me tell people, the level of charges will be modest,... I think we will have the [flat rate] for a period of time, which is what makes sense, and then people who have meters can see what kind of usage they have. If their usage is below the charge, they will get a refund, so we want to build into this an incentive to use water more carefully.” Joan Burton last night.

    “There is a sense it will all be okay in the end. There are some who think Alan Kelly should be out there defending his policy and decisions.” Unnamed Cabinet Minister

    Probably safe to assume there's a degree of nervousness in Government circles this morning as protesters around the country get ready to take to the streets to voice the opposition to water charges.  

    Conor Pope is my name and I will be looking after all your protest needs today.  

  • 10:14

    There will be 28 rolling protests taking place in various locations in Dublin, including Artane, Donnybrook, Finglas, Harold’s Cross, Tallaght, Pearse Street, Dún Laoghaire and Walkinstown.

    They start between 11am and 2pm.

    "“To be honest we don’t quite know what to expect. The last time round there was a protest in Dublin on a similar issue the protest was concentrated in the city centre . . . it’s possible that [the spread of the protests] could prove more disruptive,” said the AA's Conor Faughnan.

    “People going into the cities and larger towns for ordinary purposes should be aware that there could be traffic disruptions."

  • 10:14
    DublinTown, a collective of 2,500 businesses in Dublin city centre has called on organisers to avoid “excessive disruption” to the public. “While we absolutely respect the right to protest, the ability to protest and articulate one’s views can be done in a way that respects the rights of other users of the city,” chief executive Richard Guiney said.

  • 10:15

    Five trade unions affiliated to the Right2Water – Unite, Mandate, the Civil Public and Services Union, the Communications Workers’ Union, and plasterers’ union OPATSI – have urged their members to join demonstrations .

  • 10:17

  • 10:20
    List of all the protests taking place across the State.
  • 10:23

    Every mass protest carries within it the seeds of revolution. It is when the plain people come together to push against the powers that be that we can slough off what Marx called “the muck of ages” and look an unequal society full in the face, unafraid.  Today’s protests against water charges are, potentially, a case in point.

    Eamonn McCann on the significance of today's events


  • 10:24

  • 10:37

    Cork: Protests under the Right2Water banner in Cork city and towns in the county including Bandon, Clonakilty, Fermoy, Mallow and Youghal. In the past two weeks, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and the People’s Convention have organised protests in Cork city which have each attracted about 1,000 people. Today’s protest takes place in the Grand Parade starting at 2pm.  In Bandon, the protest is at the main bridge at noon while in Clonakilty, it starts at Astna Square at 1pm as it does in Youghal at Barry’s Lane. The Fermoy protest at Chapel Square and the Mallow protest at West End are both scheduled to start at 2pm.
    Galway:  Protesters have been mobilising mainly through Facebook. Public meetings organised by the We Won’t Pay campaign and Anti-Austerity Alliance have helped to drum up support for today’s protest which starts at the Spanish Arch at 1pm. A march will take place through the city centre to Eyre Square where it is expected that more speeches will be delivered.
    Sligo  The organisers of the Sligo Right2Water protest are predicting a show of strength which they say will increase pressure on the Government to abandon the charges “and respect our human right to water”.  The Sligo  begins at the GPO at 2pm.
    Kerry  A protest is scheduled to start at the Horan Centre in Tralee at 1pm and it follows on from a similar protest organised by a number of trade unions, Sinn Féin and Right2Water last weekend which attracted a crowd of up to 1,000.
    Donegal  Up to 10,000 people are expected to gather at three protests marches across the county today. The biggest rally will be in Letterkenny where organisers expect an estimated 5,000 to take to the streets.
    Marchers will gather at the Port Roundabout at 2pm before walking up the town’s Main Street. A number of speakers will address the crowd at Market Square.  A similar crowd is expected in Ballyshannon where a rally will start at the Abbey Centre at 2pm before moving through the town.
    A large crowd is also expected in the Border town of Lifford for the third and final protest which also starts at 2pm.
    Roscommon  Householders in Boyle, Co Roscommon, who are still contending with “boil water” notices because of contamination are being urged to support today’s protest, which begins at the Royal Hotel car park at 1.30pm.
    Waterford  Campaigners will assemble in the Ballybricken area at 2pm. The Waterford Council of Trade Unions is one body behind the event. Elsewhere in Co Waterford there will be a protest in Dungarvan at 3pm and another in Portlaw at noon.
    Wexford  There are four rallies planned. Protesters will gather at 2pm at the Riverbank car park in Wexford. Other gatherings will take place in Enniscorthy, Gorey and New Ross, all starting at about 2pm.
    Kilkenny/ Carlow  Demonstrators in Kilkenny city will meet at the railway station from 1.30pm before marching through the city to the courthouse. Supporters of the campaign will assemble in Carlow town at the Liberty Tree at 2pm.

  • 10:39
    So, what are the protests all about? This might give you some idea.  
  • 10:40

  • 10:43

  • 10:47

  • 10:49

    It's hard to find tweets backing water charges today.  

    And by hard, I mean completely impossble.  

    But, for the sake of balence I give you this:  


  • 10:53

  • 10:58

    "Rain will become widespread this morning with heavy falls in places, especially in southern and eastern areas this afternoon, which may lead to spot flooding and becoming windy here also as southerly winds become strong and gusty. Top temperatures of 11 to 14 degrees."

    Will be interesting to see what impact water from above will have on the water charges protest.....

  • 11:07
    I hope all the protesters keep their phones hidden today. If she sees them, Joan Burton will have conniptions.  
  • 11:11

    In case you missed it yesterday, here's Micahel Noonan's take on the protests.  

    “I assume that a lot of people will march, but they have various motivations. Nobody has said that they are marching because they have a disagreement with the Budget. The Budget has been generally welcomed as a very good Budget. The opposition parties have identified nothing in the Budget on which they have focused and they’re having their last rally around the water issue because it’s the last issue which the opposition to the Government regard as a fruitful political issue."

  • 11:33

  • 11:37
    "If Irish Water is done properly we should be paying less for a better water service... We've been paying for it in taxation. We've been paying too much for a lousy water system".  The ESRI's John Fitzgerald on Marian just there.  
  • 11:40

  • 11:43

  • 11:45

    The IrishWater hashtag is moving up the Twitter trends list.... was tenth 5 minutes ago... is in seventh position now.  It will be in the number one slot by lunchtime....

    Unless Niall Horan says something about his breakfast.  

  • 12:20

    There seems to be a whole lot of confusion amonst social media savvy protestors about which hash tag to use today. There's #irishwater, #wewontpay, #watercharges, #right2water and #waterprotests..... at the moment #irishtwater seems to be winning unlike Irish Water which is most certainly not winning.  

  • 12:24

  • 12:29

    Large crowds reported at the first of today’s anti-water charge protests in Tallaght, Finglas, Donaghmede, Artane and Swords.

  • 12:31

    First news report in from Pamela Duncan in Tallaght.

    "In Tallaght this morning the voices of the water protestors spanned the generations.  

    “No way we won’t pay,” a young boy chanted as his mother led him by the hand through the throngs of people who gathered at St Mary’s Dominican Church on the village’s main street before 11am.  

    The Tallaght protest, one of the first to take place in Dublin, stretched from the traffic lights on the main street back to the Dragon Pub and the crowd was giving full voice to its opposition to the introduction of water charges.  

    “Enda Kenny not a penny.” “No way Tallaght won’t pay, take it out of Enda Kenny’s pay”.  

    Marching in Tallaght Brian Boland said the level of anger at the water charges was widespread.  

    “I’m a pensioner now. It’s just a measure to far, that’s what I call it and I’m not paying it. I paid the property tax all the rest of it. I paid it all all my working life. I’m finished now, I’m not paying anymore. That’s the end of it,” he said.  

    Yvonne Skelly said people were protesting over the water charges because this issue “is the straw that broke the camel’s back”.  

    “A very quick Google search will tell you that we already pay €1.2 billion in general taxation towards water so why we have to pay for it twice I have no idea...a lot of people genuinely can’t afford it. They’re at the pin of their collar. I’ve been speaking to people who have had to make choices between, ‘do I feed the kids today or do I pay the bills?’. I think that’s what’s really mobilised people. And it’s very much grassroots, it’s not a political thing,   it’s ordinary people who are coming together.  

    “The other reason is the totally corrupt way that this has been set up. Enough is enough and I think people need to stand up and tell the Government that they have to be fully transparent and fully accountable in the way their running the country...we have to stand up for this generation and the next generation”.  


  • 12:33

  • 12:34
    The N81 Tallaght Bypass is no longer blocked as the protestors have moved beyond that point.  
  • 12:48

    More from Pamela Duncan...

    Senator Katherine Zappone said she was attending the Tallaght march because she supported people's resistance to pay the water charge although she also noted that some were not opposed to water charge but had serious concerns about the way in which they were being implemented and the speed at which they were being rolled out.  

     "I'm aware of the fact that many people are, in principle, in favour of paying the water charges but just in light of a lot of the incompetencies, particularly of Irish water that they don't feel that they should pay now...too much has gone in terms of the governance and the management of the company. I think we need to suspend the whole issue of water charges for now".  

     "It's been too rushed in terms of the legislative process. This Government said it was going to use committees a lot more, often heads of Bill are produced, committees then bring in civil society groups, experts to hear and make recommendations. That didn't happen with Irish Water. I think we should bring back the legislation to be reviewed, to listen to the people....and then to move forward to issues related to charges: whether it is or isn't a public company...we need to ensure that our water services will always be publicly owned".  

  • 12:57

  • 12:58

  • 12:59

    I hope that shopping trolley gets returned to Tesco!

  • 13:00

  • 13:10

    Claire Daly on radio 1 now saying she’s never seen anything like the crowd that turned out for the protest against water charges in Swords, “a quiet, …suburban area”. She estimated around 5,000 people turned up. “Honestly I’ve never seen anything like it”.

  • 13:12

  • 13:14

  • 13:15

    If an average of just 1200 peope show up at every protest, the numbers on the streets today will easily top 100k... Tens of thousands are likely to show up in Dublin City though which could push the total to well over 150k....  

  • 13:18
    Pearse St blocked inbound at the Erne St junction.... North Circular Road blocked at St Peter's Church in Phibsboro.... Galway march getting underway at the Spanish Arch.  
  • 13:18

  • 13:19
    Looks like it's lashing rain in Tralee but the water hasn't detered the water charge protestors - around a thousand people on the march there now.  
  • 13:22

    #IrishWater has moved up one to number six in the trending topics in Ireland.  

    Halloween is in the number one slot.  

    That is so yesterday.  

  • 13:28

  • 13:30

    Clare Daly said she had never seen anything like the Swords protest.... This tweet will give you an idea what she meant.


  • 13:32

  • 13:36
    According to gardai there are around 2,500 people on the Blanchardstown protest right now but they are being joing by more marchers as we type.
  • 13:37

  • 13:40

    It might not be televisied.... but will it be tweeted?

  • 13:43

    Not everyone thinks the water charges are a bad idea... not by a long shot.  

    Here's the view from the Forbes floor

  • 13:46

  • 13:54
    The demo in Wicklow is now done and traffic is said to be moving well.  
  • 14:01
    Junior minister Jed Nash says "serious mistakes" have been made in connection with Irish Water and suggests Government is working on plan to come up with a fairer system of payment.
  • 14:02

    RTE report Jennie O’Sullivan has decribed Cork city centre as a sea of umbrellas and says over 2,000 there now despite lashing rain. She says 400 people turned out earlier in Bandon. Several hundred people have gathered in Limerick.

  • 14:21

    In Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin this afternoon at least 1500 people marched. Among the chants were “from rivers to the sea water should be free”.


    Hmm, it has never been free. Our drinking water costs €1.2 billion every year. But we take your point chanter.  


  • 14:27

    Huge crowds descending on the GPO... The water from the heavens has not deterred them.  


  • 14:28

  • 14:30

  • 14:31
    Jonathan Healy from Newstalk saying that there's easily 10,000 people in the march in Cork....  
  • 14:56
  • 14:58

    First official word on the numbers in Dublin.  

    One of our corrspondents asked a guard how many people were on the march.

    "Jaysus, it's massive," came the response.  

  • 15:02

  • 15:04

  • 15:06
    BREAKING: #righttowater has leap-frogged #irishwater and is now fifth in Twitter's top trending list in Ireland. #irishwater is in seventh place. Halloween is still number one.
  • 15:07

    From our Limerick Correspondent:   More than 3,000 anti water demonstrators have converged on Bedford Row in Limerick city centre to protest over water charges.

    Limerick's main thoroughfare O'Connell Street has been closed to traffic because of the amount of people who have turned out for the second time in a week to highlight their anger over the water charges.

    More than 6,000 people took part in a similar protest last Saturday.

    Pouring rain didn't deter the estimated 3,500 people taking part in today's protest, which saw protestors converge on the city centre from four separate meeting points dotted outside the city centre and its suburbs.

    One of the groups marched four kilometres from Westbury in Co Clare.  

    Loud chants of 'Enda Kenny, Not a penny!' was heard from underneath the sea of umbrellas as protestors called on Fine Gael to "look up high and see the water falling from the sky".

    Addressing the huge crowds gathered on Bedford Row, David Houlihan who organised the march from Westbury Shopping centres in Co Clare said:  

    "These water charges have absolutely nothing got to do with conservation of water it has nothing got to do with repairing  infrastructure.... Let us not forget why we are marching for today We are marching for our elderly, those who are afraid, our children, our vulnerable our sick." Kathryn Hayes


  • 15:24

    From Pamela Duncan: the hardest working hack in Dublin today!


    Water bucketed down on some 1,000 protesters as they marched from Clondalkin this afternoon under a canvass of umbrellas on their way to converge with another group of protesters who began their march in Lucan.  

    The protest, one of the last of 28 planned protests taking place in Dublin, gave protesters a chance to give voice to their anger over the proposed charges, many carrying home-made signs carrying their message:  

     "Extortion by extortionists," said one. "From the river to the sea, Irish water will be free," read another.  

     But most bore one simple message: "We won't pay".  

     Dave Eustace echoed the voice of many who were taking part in protests throughout Dublin and Ireland: water charges were "a step too far".  


    "This is the issue that woke me up," he said.  


    "Michael Noonan coming out last night saying this will be the last of it, if anything that propelled me even more to come out here today, well I have news for him, this isn't the end of it," he said.  


    Connie Gray, who described herself as "a public servant, a mother and a grandmother" said she wasn't fundamentally opposed to paying for water but said she she said she was "tired of the same people paying for everything every time".  

     "I don't have a problem paying for water, I have a problem paying it to a private company. It may not be private yet but that's our fear, that it will be".  


  • 15:32

  • 15:33

  • 15:35

    Some of those behind the protests are suggesting that the numbers on the streets could be well in excess of the predicted 100,000... According to Twitter - not always the most reilable  news and informatiion source admittedl - there could be as many as 200,000 people marching. And on a horrible day like this too.  

    Bear in mind that all estimates come with a massive health warning.  

  • 15:44

  • 15:45

  • 15:51


  • 15:52

    That last tweet was from a  Fianna Fail TD.  

    Plans to introduce water charges were first announced when Fianna Fail was in Government.  

    Just saying, like.  

  • 15:57

  • 15:58

  • 16:01

  • 16:03

    From Donegal: A crowd of more than 7,000 people has turned out in Co Donegal to send a message that locals will not pay the water charges.

    The huge crowd marched from the Port Roundabout to Market Square in Letterkenny where speaker after speaker received massive rounds of applause.

    Other rallies took place across Donegal in both Lifford and Ballyshannon.

    A number of people brought their Irish Water Registration forms which were burnt  to cheers from the crowd.

    People carried banners including one which read ‘Irish Water Can Fliuch Off.’ Other featured pictures of Joan Burton on a broomstick.

    Throughout the march, the crowd chanted slogans including ‘From the rivers to the sea, Irish water will be free.’  Stephen Maguire  

  • 16:04

  • 16:06

    The Luas Red Line services are back on..... wait for it now...... track.

    You're welcome.  

  • 16:14
    From Tullamore:  Thousands of anti water charge protesters carried a coffin through the streets of Tullamore in Co Offaly this afternoon.  Despite intermittent and at times heavy downpours, gardai said around
    2,000 attended the protest. Marchers carried a coffin to symbolise the death of Irish water.  Two more anti water charge protests were simultaneously held in Edenderry and Birr, Co Offaly this afternoon.
  • 16:19

  • 16:20

  • 16:28
    Expect a whole lot of arguing over numbers in the hours ahead. Getting organisers and authorities and newspapers to agreeing on crowd sizes when there is one March on one street is impossible so it won't happen today. Bottom line is there were a lot of people protesting in horrible weather today. The Government will have to be concerned. There'll be a lot of hand wringing and soul searching over the next few days.
  • 16:48

    Always nice to report that a spokesman for the Garda press office said the office had received no reports of any arrests or public order incidents at today’s protests thus far.  

  • 16:54

    I think that's pretty much that.  

    Streets are clearing now.  

    All that's left is the fallout... whatever that might be.  


  • 17:00
    Hang on, there's time for a bit more!

    From Donegal:  An estimated 4,000 people took to the streets in Sligo where the government was warned that minor concessions would not “fool people into accepting water charges”.

    During a march through the centre of town , much of the crowd’s anger was directed at the Taoiseach, with repeated chants of “Enda in your ivory tower, this is called people power” and “Enda Kenny, not a penny”.
    Some carried placards bearing the slogan “let them have phones” with organisers urging the crowd at one stage to “show your phones to Joan”, as they derided the Tanaiste’s recent remarks about protesters’ mobile phones.

    A woman caring for her 89 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s . told the rally that she has to put on five loads of washing every day. Helena Ryan from the Rosses Point road, Sligo , was cheered by the crowd when she said : “I can’t pay, I won’t pay. It’s not fair”. Later Ms Ryan said she had rang Irish Water to try and explain that her mother lived next door and so she could not avail of her allowance. “They told me I was through to a call centre and they hung up on me. I don’t usually go to protests but I am so upset about this. I don’t know what I will do. I think I will have to pay €500”.

    Former Labour party TD and independent councillor Declan Bree said the government was now in retreat and panicking, and as a result were offering minor concessions. “We are not interested in minor concessions and we are not interested in having the charges deferred. We are here today to demand the abolition of water charges “.  Campaigner Vanessa Scanlon said many people simply did not have the money to pay. “It has to stop. If we do not say no to this, what is next”. Marese McDonagh

  • 17:01

    And then there is this from Fiona Gartland.

    The net charge for water will be “modest” and hopefully will be known by the end of this month, Tánaiste Joan Bruton has said.

    Speaking at the opening of an exhibition at Farmleigh in Dublin this afternoon, Ms Bruton said the Government had a number of meetings and detailed discussions, but had not yet settled “on the exact amounts”.

    “I expect and hope they will conclude later this month and then we will be in a position to make an announcement for people,” she said.  She said she and the Government had been listening very carefully to what people have been saying and the concerns they have been expressing.