Latest: Cork Water Meter Protest

Protesters are continuing to block Irish Water contractors from installing water meters in a Cork housing estate.

About six members of the Ballyphehane and Togher Anti Water and Property Tax protest group blocked the entrance to the Ashbrook Heights housing estate in Lehanaghmore, Togher, earlier to prevent the contractors vans from entering.

Residents, wearing high visibility jackets and carry anti-water charge posters, are allowing passenger traffic to pass through the estate, but said they will block any machinery from entering.

One protestor, Brian Gould, stood in a hole dug by the contractors outside a house in nearby Fenwood Estate to halt work there.

Several residents have expressed their support for the protest and are supplying the men with tea and biscuits.

Despite a warning from gardai earlier that they face arrest if the blockade continues, the protestors have vowed to maintain a presence at the estate entrance indefinitely.

While five water meters were installed in the estate yesterday before the protest became established, no work has been carried out in the 65-house estate this morning.

Residents have vowed to maintain their protest, the first of its kind, as the stand-off continues.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance also announced today they would shortly launch a nationwide petition against the charges.

"We aim to increase the pressure even more with the launch of our nationwide anti-water tax petition," said Seónaidh ní Shíomóin of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA).

"This petition will gather thousands of names on our stalls and will also be launched online at www.AntiAusterityAlliance.ie. "People are incensed at the thought of a water tax of hundreds of euro on top of all the other demands this government has made. The AAA is urging people to use the elections to register that anger and our petition will be a warning to Labour: axe the water tax or watch your vote collapse", said Ms ní Shíomóin, who is an AAA candidate in Shannon.

Ruth Coppinger of the AAA added: "In political history terms, it’s hard to find a more embarrassing U-turn for any party than Labour on the water tax. This petition and the ballot box itself will be an opportunity for people to send a powerful message to Labour to back off the water tax."

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