Anti water charges protesters demonstrated outside the
Longford Arms Hotel as IFA
members gathered to celebrate 60 years on Friday night.
And, while the protest gathered momentum - approximately 70 people turned out - the arrival of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD was diverted to the back entrance of the hotel where he was greeted by members of IFA, unbeknownst to the protesters, who said they were there to ‘welcome the Minister’ and to send a message back with him for Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
Placards in tow, the protesters comprised of men, women and children.
“We want to send a message back to our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny that we won’t pay,” Tena Keown told the Leader.
“Last October the Government back stepped on the whole issue of water charges and they know it is an unfair tax.”
Back in October. Environment Minister Alan Kelly announced the changes agreed at Cabinet and the results included the charges been reduced considerably with two flat rates put in place until the end of 2018.
However Ms Keown and her supporters say the move doesn’t go far enough.
“We are educating our children about water charges and the importance of getting rid of Irish Water altogether,” she stated.
“We are already paying for our water through numerous taxes and the message to Enda Kenny is plain and simple - ‘Longford won’t pay’ and no way will we pay water charges.”
The event passed off without incident while two local gardaí remained within view at all times.
The Minister, meanwhile, was warmly received at the other end of the hotel and later told the 300 or so people attending the dinner dance that IFA was an organisation that was “extraordinarily vocal and effective, right to the top of Government”. Minister Coveney also took the opportunity to thank the water protesters for their presence.