Irish Water contractors remove meters from Cork estate; protests to continue

Irish Water contractors remove meters from Cork estate; protests to continue
Picture: Eoin English, Irish Examiner

Irish Water contractors have removed five water meters from a Cork housing estate at the centre of a month-long water meter blockade.

Locals are claiming it is a major victory and have vowed to continue their protests..

Contractors moved in to Ashbrook Estate in Togher just after 9am with the agreement of residents to reinstate footpaths left unfinished by the water meter blockade.

As part of that work contractors removed five of six water meters originally installed.

However, protestors halted the work after the first meter was removed insisting that boundary boxes, long plastic tubes into which the meters are fitted, would also be removed.

After a stand-off, residents voted to allow the workers continue with the removal of the meters only.

In a statement, Irish Water said that water meters had been removed as part of a clean-up operation and that no boundary boxes had been removed.

"In the Ashbrook Estate in Cork, Irish Water is today performing permanent reinstatement works to pathways and surrounding areas, as planned," the statement said.

"There are six boundary installations impacted.

"Five meters in new boundary boxes have been removed temporarily for inspection and will be re-installed in due course as part of the completion of works in the estate. No meter (boundary) boxes have been removed.

"Residents were informed that Irish Water was doing this."

For now the water meters have been removed from the estate, but Eoin English of the Irish Examiner says residents are vowing to continue their protests.

The blockade began last month after protesters halted metering work in the estate.

Irish Water contractors are installing around 27,000 meters a month around the country, with first readings due in October and the first bills expected to be issued in January.

The installation of just over 1m water meters nationwide is due to be completed in 2016. The installation programme is one of the largest schemes of its kind in the world.

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