Dublin City Council Takes A Stand Against Water Charges

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Dublin City Council has condemned the excessive force used by Gardai at water meter protests in housing estates.

At a council meeting last night the Council passed a motion criticising the arrest of peaceful protestors and recognising the right to peaceful protest. The motion also calls on the Lord Mayor Christy Burke to make representations to the Garda Commissioner and on Dubliners to protest against the water charges.

The motions were brought by a number of councillors. One of these councillors was Michael O’Brien of the Anti Austerity Alliance who said that he has noticed a rise in the scale of Garda mobilisations to arrest protestors.

O’Brien questioned how it was possible to have mobilisations of large numbers of Gardai to accompany the installation of water metres when response times for burglaries are much slower.

Michael O’Brien of the Anti Austerity Alliance said that he has noticed a rise in the scale of Garda mobilisations to arrest protestors.

Independent councillor Gary Gannon said “Gardai will very shortly be wearing G4S uniforms” as everything has been privatised. He said that representations should be made to the Garda commissioner regarding peaceful assembly and protest and that “if the situation was happening in any other county we’d be laughing at them”.

Independent councillor Gary Gannon said “Gardai will very shortly be wearing G4S uniforms” as everything has been privatised.

gary gannon 1

Sinn Fein Councillor Daithi Doolan said that regardless of personal feelings about Irish Water, “to vote against the motion is to vote for the bullyboy tactics used by the Gardai”. He added that the tactics have done nothing but fuel resistance for the protest march.

The issue of who was paying the overtime for the Gardai was brought up by several councillors. There was a strong feeling that Irish Water should be paying a private security company.

Sinn Fein Councillor Daithi Doolan said that regardless of personal feelings about Irish Water, “to vote against the motion is to vote for the bullyboy tactics used by the Gardai”.

Councillors from the government parties had a different view on the matter. Paddy Smyth of Fine Gael said he could not support a motion which was “censuring Gardai for doing their job”.  He added, “do we stand for mob rule which has been cynically whipped up or do we stand for the law of the land?”

Labour Councillor Brendan Carr said that while he respected the right to protest, the meter installers had the right to do a day’s work without intimidation and bullying. He added that people would not support the protests if they saw the way workers were being treated.

Labour Councillor Brendan Carr said that while he respected the right to protest, the meter installers had the right to do a day’s work without intimidation and bullying.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said that he didn’t approve of anyone intimidating workers. However, he said he could understand how residents were frustrated at the large number of Gardai in estates when the response times for emergencies were so slow. Lord Mayor Burke supported the motion.

The motion was passed by 29 to 20, with four councillors abstaining.

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