Longford set for water charges protest

John Stokes, Jessie O'Leary, James Rushe, and Tina Keown are opposed to water charges and they will be taking part in the Longford protest march on Saturday, November 1. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
The rising tide against water charges looks set to intensify once more next week when protestors take to the streets of Longford over their controversial introduction.

The rising tide against water charges looks set to intensify once more next week when protestors take to the streets of Longford over their controversial introduction.

It follows a mass rally held in Dublin earlier this month when up to 100,000 marched from Parnell Square to Leinster House.

Now organisers hope a nationwide series of protests scheduled for Saturday week (November 1) will arouse further public apathy over a measure many believe is a step too far for hard-pressed taxpayers.

Local woman Tena Keown said the march was not being engineered with any political motivations in mind.

Rather, it offered people the chance to voice their own displeasure whatever their background and personal financial situation.

“I would be encouraging as many people as possible to come out,” she said.

“Whether you have paid, can’t pay or won’t pay, we as a people have to stand together.”

The mother of five, who was among the vitriolic band of Longford protestors to have taken part in the Dublin rally, said its Longford equivalent would be devoid of any political undertones.

To illustrate that very point, in recent days she sent emails to all of Longford’s current crop of council representatives.

“So far, I have got back three replies,” she revealed, two of whom were from Independents Gerry Warnock and Cathaorleach, Cllr Casey.

The third was from an unamed councillor who wanted to know if Mrs Keown was connected to any political party.

“It’s not about that,” she quickly retorted.

“They (government) just can’t keep picking away at our livelihoods.”

Mrs Keown also told of how she has so far returned two registration packs from Irish Water, a stand she firmly believes needed to be made.

“My daughters go to college. Does that mean I will have to pay for them here and will they have to pay up in Dublin too?”

They are questions she wants answers to, along with last week’s Budget announcement of a €100 tax break for hard-pressed homeowners.

“This whole thing of taking €100 off your bills. Why are they doing that is they (Irish Water) are a private company. I certainly didn’t sign any contract,” she maintained.

Switching her focus to Saturday week, Mrs Keown said now was the time for those concerns to be aired in public.

“We are always saying Longford is ignored, but this is the time to stand up and say enough is enough.”

Something tells you she means every word.