Cork protester goes on hunger strike over water charges

Gary Coleman outside Cork's City Hall last night on hunger strike in protest at water charges.

A man began a hunger strike and slept outside Cork City Hall last night in protest at water charges.

Gary Coleman, 28, from Southern Road in Cork, said he felt compelled to stage the drastic protest to drive home to government the level of public anger over water charges.

“Everyone is angry about it and the march in Dublin at the weekend was fine, but we have to take it up a level now,” he said.

Gary, who has been unemployed for about five years, said he had been thinking about going on hunger strike over the issue for several weeks, but decided yesterday to go ahead with it.

He insisted he would maintain his strike for as long as he could, but he could not say specifically what it would take for him to end his protest.

“I’ll keep it going as long as I have to, until we get a response from the Government,” he said.

“I’m sure they will have a few sweeteners in the budget, but the price of water is only going to go up and up.”

He said he was heartened by the level of public support that began to pour in through his Facebook page. “This won’t be a one-day thing. I hope it will gather momentum,” he said.

His protest is being supported by The People’s Convention movement who have encouraged people to attend a protest march in the city on October 25. Diarmuid O Cadhla of The People’s Convention said while he could understand Gary’s anger, he wouldn’t recommend his tactics.

“Going on hunger strike like this is not the best of course of action. I don’t think he’s thought this through fully,” he said.

Mr O Cadhla was among several people who were last night trying to convince Gary to give up his protest.

But some supporters arrived with a tent just before 10pm and Gary vowed to continue.

 

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