Locals say they are not paying for their water

John Reilly (North Longford Sinn F�in representative) and Finbar Meehan (Chairman of North Longford Sinn F�in) with party colleague, Westmeath County Councillor Paul Hogan, at the Right To Water public meeting in Granard Community Centre. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Close to 60 people attended a Right2Water meeting in Granard this week which was hosted by Sinn Fein.

Close to 60 people attended a Right2Water meeting in Granard this week which was hosted by Sinn Fein.

It was the first Sinn Fein gathering in Granard in 92 years.

Speakers on the night included Deputy Michael Colreavy TD, Cllr Martin Kenny, Cllr Paul Hogan and John Reilly - candidate in the Granard Electoral Area in the local elections.

Sinn Fein’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Deputy Michael Colreavy told those in attendance that it was very clear the water debate “went beyond water”.

He was responding to questions from the floor where close to 60 people were in attendance.

“I am connected to water main but I also have a well,” said one man.

“I don’t use the mains, however I did fill in the form from Irish Water but I can tell you here and now that I won’t be paying for water. I don’t care what they do to me, I’m not paying.”

Meanwhile another local added, “I have a number of connections on an outlay farm and I’m not using two of them at the moment - will I be charged?

Before answering him, Deputy Colreavy quoted directly from Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech on the coalition’s first day in office including the words “I’II want to close the gap between politics and the people…”

Deputy Colreavy told the meeting: “You will be charged for every drop of water you use; maybe I was a bit naive, but I had hoped that the actions would follow on from those words, but no what do we get - the same old, same old.”

“It is all about the capitulation of the big boys - the banks, the bondholders - the failure to seriously negotiate in Ireland’s interest with the European bossmen. The ignoring of the suffering of the people of this land, while they plundered the money out of our very pockets.”

The meeting heard that by the time Irish Water was fully operational, close to €500m of taxpayers money will have been spent on its implementation.

“It is absolutely criminal what is going on,” Cllr PaulHogan added.

“We see the likes of Denis O’Brien lining up for the privatisation of water down the road and all these ‘sweeteners’ in relation to water conservation.

“Yet if this really was about water conservation why hasn’t the Government invested €5m in fixing the leaks across the country?

“This is about generating revenue to bail out the bankers and the bondholders and 10 years of recklessness.”

Cllr Hogan went on say that politics was about choices and fairness.

“What we see from this government is that they are not listening; the ideological question here is about how to hit the low to medium wage earners to pay for the privilege and lifestyle of the wealthy and this is not acceptable,” he continued.

“We want a fair and just society for everybody.”

Michael Colreavy told the meeting that the cost of Irish water could soar even higher.

“Water charges are another tax,” he added.

“A tax to bail out the banks and the bondholders when we have already bailed them out. Shane Ross believes that Ireland will end up paying back €100bn before we are out of this mess - €100bn?

“ This water tax is just another burden on people who simply cannot afford to pay it.”