Some 500 people march against water charges in Cork

People’s Convention accuse Government of ignoring will of the people by persisting with charge

Around 500 people marched in Cork city on Saturday in an anti-water charge protest organised by a group which last week forced the abandonment of a meeting of Cork City Council.

The march, which was organised by the People’s Convention, drew anti-water charges protestors from around the city and county and passed off peacefully through the city centre.

People's Convention spokesman, Diarmuid O'Cadhla was among a number of speakers to address the rally and urged the government to abandon the water charge.

“This government is not acting in accordance with the will of people - they are ignoring the wishes of the people who have repeatedly expressed their opposition to this charge,” he said


The rally was also addressed by President of Cork Institute of Technology Students Union, Michael Lenihan and People's Convention member of Cork County Council, Cllr Claire Cullinane.

Shirley Griffin of the Ballincollig Says No to Austerity Group and Thomas Kiely of the Mallow Says No to Austerity Group also spoke and they urged people to continue to campaign against the charge.

The march triggered a protest at Cork City Hall last Monday after People’s Convention members accused Cork City Council of targeting the group by removing posters advertising the march.

People’s Convention spokesman, Diarmuid O’Cadhla forced the abandonment of the council meeting when he refused to leave the council chamber over the removal of the posters.

He said that the council had removed some 500 posters belonging to the People’s Convention before Christmas and a further 180 earlier this month advertising today’s anti-water charge rally.

“If you don’t have a right to free assembly and the right to organise that assembly as in organise and advertise public meetings, then it has very serious repercussions for democracy in this country”, said Mr O’Cadhla.

Among those participating in today's march was Cllr Mick Barry of The Socialist Party who said the smaller turn-out than in previous marches in Cork should not be seen as a waning of the campaign.

He said that there was no reduction in public anger over the water charges but the council’s decision to remove posters advertising the march undoubtedly had an effect on the turnout.

The turnout was also affected by the fact that there was a St Patrick’s Festival taking place in Cork city centre and by fact that the march was clashing with the Ireland-Wales rugby match, he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times