Protesters snub Cork FG meeting

Enda Kenny arriving at the Oriel House Hotel for a Fine Gael regional meeting. (Picture: David Keane)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was given his first reprieve from anti-water charge protesters last night after none turned up at a Fine Gael party meeting he was attending in Cork.

The regional party meeting was moved at the last minute to the Oriel House Hotel in Ballincollig, in the western outskirts of the city, following the Rochestown Park Hotel’s decision against hosting it amid security fears about mass anti-water charge protests.

There was a strong Garda presence outside the Oriel House from 7pm, with crash barriers erected outside and access to the hotel car park granted to hotel guests or card-carrying Fine Gael members only. But the feared protest failed to materialise. The Taoiseach arrived about an hour late and was whisked into the hotel.

Ireland South Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune described the decision of the Rochestown Park Hotel to cancel the Fine Gael meeting as “disgraceful”.

“The Rochestown Park Hotel is giving into mob rule. I am outraged at this decision which flies in the face of democracy,” said Ms Clune.

The Taoiseach is due to attend a number of engagements in Cork City this morning.

The We Won’t Pay campaign has called on people opposed to water charges to gather at the Blackpool Retail Park where Mr Kenny is due to visit the offices of online gaming firm, Xanadu, to make a jobs announcement.

We Won’t Pay spokesman Cllr Mick Barry said people should step up the pressure now to get the water charge abolished entirely.

“The protest is being organised as a peaceful protest,” he said.

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