By Orla Healy
MARCHES were held throughout Cork last weekend, in protest at the water charges.
In Clonakilty, West Cork Right2Water organised the protest on Saturday and Sinn Fein Cllrs Paul Hayes and Rachel McCarthy and People Before Profit’s Ed Harper addressed the crowd.
They encouraged locals not to register with Irish Water and to continue to peacefully resist the installation of water meters.
An initial crowd of around 80 protesters gathered at Emmet Square, but that increased as they marched through the centre of the town.
Overall, the numbers attending were down on previous demonstrations, despite the good weather.
Speaking of the numbers still protesting, Cllr Hayes said that ‘diversio nary tactics’ employed by Irish Water, like the reduction in charges, and the €100 Water Conservation Grant, may have had an effect.
But he added that receiving bills in April would ‘focus people’s minds’ and added that bigger protests were planned for the months ahead.
Cllr Rachel McCarthy said: ‘The reality is that it’s going to be very cold next year when people are faced with either paying their water charges or their heating or electricity bills and that’s the reality of what the government has forced us to do.’
‘We’re not marching for concessions,’ she added, ‘we’re marching for abolition.’
A smaller crowd attended a protest in Bandon on Saturday, and there was also a West Cork presence at the water protest marches in Cork city also.