Water charges protester defiant at third arrest

A water charges protester arrested three times since last Friday has vowed to continue his resistance to the installation of water meters.

Brian Gould, aged 64, was yesterday arrested at a protest at the Ard Cashel estate in Watergrasshill, Co Cork having been detained on Monday at a demonstration in the same residential area.

Mr Gould was also arrested at a protest in Brooklodge in nearby Glanmire last Friday.

Mr Gould appeared in Mallow District Court yesterday and was released on bail.

He said afterwards that, as part of his bail conditions, he had been ordered not to attend any further water meter installations in Watergrasshill.

Mr Gould said that he was yesterday arrested for grabbing equipment from an Irish Water worker, but said that it was an instinctive reaction after the material was passed over his head from behind.

His arrest on Monday, Mr Gould said, came after he stepped on a stopcock.

He also confirmed that he is not a resident of either the Ard Cashel or Brooklodge estates.

“Over the last six or seven months we’ve been going to various estates in Cork City and county to park meetings,” said Mr Gould. “We’ve been giving information and leaflets to residents on the water charges, meters and smart meters.

“We’ve told residents that if they want help, we’re more than willing to give it to them. We won’t do it for them though.

“We’re willing to stand with them, not stand for them. They themselves have to be willing to take a stand.”

Mr Gould said that, as a result of his involvement, he gets calls from residents who are seeking help in speaking with gardaí and Irish Water workers.

“I have gained experience in dealing with the gardaí and Irish Water that people don’t have,” he said.

Last week, a spokesperson said Irish Water would resume works in estates where workers had been refused access by residents.

“This work will be rescheduled in due course to enable works to be carried out in a safe manner,” the spokesperson said. “Meter installations are continuing in the south-west region. To date in excess of 735,000 meters have been installed nationwide and over 90,000 in the south-west region.”

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