15,000 sign petition, vow to boycott Irish Water

A group opposed to water charges has gathered almost 15,000 signatures from people who have vowed to boycott Irish Water.

The People’s Convention in Cork said it plans to present the petition to the city’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Mary Shields, ahead of Monday’s council meeting. The petition demands that local councils and individual members stand with the people against the imposition of water charges and encourage the non-payment of the charges.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, secretary of the People’s Convention, said councillors will also be asked to sign a declaration in favour of non-payment of the water charges.

The mayor’s office has indicated that Ms Shields will not be able to accept the petition personally because of a prior engagement, and has asked that the petition be posted to City Hall.

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“We will not be doing that,” Mr Ó Cadhla said. “We will be on the steps of City Hall at 5pm on Monday to present the petition.

“We hope that the council will respect the people of Cork enough to send a representative to receive the petition from us.

“We hope that councillors will do their job — which is to represent the people.

“We know the council has limited power, but they have the absolute power to represent the people.

“Recent threats by Government to legislate for attachment orders are a further attempt to bully the people into accepting a policy which is plainly not of their own choosing.

“The real question here is one of democracy. The people have no say in how our own State is being run.”

He urged City Hall to send a representative on behalf of the Lord Mayor to accept the petition. “If they don’t, well it will send another message — that the disrespect continues and that the views of the people of Cork don’t matter.”

The People’s Convention collected the signatures over the last nine months, mostly at an information stand it erects every Saturday on St Patrick’s St. Signatures were also collected at various public meetings.

Mr Ó Cadhla said he suspects the petition, which he described as “not insignificant”, won’t make much of a difference to the Government.

“But we have to put it to them [city councillors] and give them the opportunity to prove us wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Ó Cadhla confirmed he plans to stand again in the next general election despite being fined for failing to make a prescribed electoral return after his failed bid to win a seat in Cork South Central in the 2011 general election.

Mr Ó Cadhla, of Ocht Cabhsa, Beamount, Baile an Teampaill, Cork, was fined €300 at Cork District Court last December for failing to make a statutory return. He confirmed yesterday that he has yet to pay the fine and said he didn’t make an electoral return arising out of constitutional issues.

He said the electoral process favours “private clubs” and that his constitutional rights were being denied and that he was being discriminated against. He said he is looking forward to making his argument in court when his appeal against his conviction is heard in the circuit court, expected in late July.

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