One of the largest mass demonstrations ever seen in Kilkenny saw around 2,000 people take to the streets of the city on Saturday in very poor weather conditions to complain about an “arrogant” government’s imposition of water charges.
There was real anger over the manner in which Irish Water was set up and the costs involved.
The majority of people had never before taken part in a street protest before and they were livid with the government and felt they have already paid a heavy price for the collapse of the economy at the hands of the elite.
Many still don’t know exactly how much they will pay for water, adding to the confusion. ”We have had enough austerity and the water charges are the last straw for me,” a mother of three young children, living in a semi-detached house in the city, said as the rain fell.
“The banks are back, well financed and builders are back building and it’s not fair that we have to carry the can again,” she added.
Her position was mirrored by many of the ordinary people present.
One of the organisers, Conor MacLiam said he was delighted that so many people had decided to exercise their democratic right to protest. “I think if we can keep up the momentum, we can get the charges stopped,” he said defiantly.
“The message from the protests in Kilkenny, Carlow and around the country, is that no amount of tinkering will do - the water charges must be scrapped, and there will be no let up in pressure until they are gone. He said the ‘We Won’t Pay’ campaign wants to maximise mass non-payment of the bills when they arrive in January.
Sinn Fein councillor, Kathleen Funchion claimed the Government and in particular the Taoiseach were arrogant and were not listening to the people and did not appreciate what people were going through and said there would not be any huge increase in tax if Irish Water was scrapped. She said there were other ways of generating money like through a wealth tax.