THE mood of the county has moved dramatically away from Irish Water with a large number of councillors now likely to attend the anti-water charge protests in Ennis and Shannon this weekend.
While only one sitting councillor, Mike McKee of Sinn Fein, attended last week’s Ennis protest, according to the results of a Clare People survey of all county councillors, four councillors will definitely attend one of Saturday’s protests – while a further 10 says they are also likely to attend.
Councillors Bill Chambers (FF) and PJ Ryan (Ind) will attend the Ennis protests while Mike McKee (SF) will attend the Shannon protest and Gerry Flynn (Ind) will attend the national protest in Dublin.
The councillors who are considering attending include: Tom McNamara (FF), Cllr Paul Murphy (FG), Clare Colleran Molloy (FF), Christy Curtin (Ind), Richard Nagle (FF), Bill Slattery (FG), Ian Lynch (Ind), Joe Cooney (FG), Pat Hayes (FF) Michael Begley (Ind).
Only one councillor, Sinn Fein’s Mike McKee, said he would refuse to pay his water charges while a further seven are exempt, because they are connected to group water schemes.
“We have been here in Shannon protests against the installation of meters since the beginning. There is a real momentum growing, it’s getting bigger and bigger. Something is happening that hasn’t happened before – people are getting up and really voicing their opposition.”
Lahinch councillor Bill Slattery (FG) said he would not give his PPS number to Irish Water and was encouraging other people to withhold their PPS numbers.
“I have no intention to give my PPS number or my family’s PPS numbers to Irish Water and anyone who has asked me I told them not to give it. They will have my PPS number forever,” said Cllr Slattery, who says he is in favour of a flat rate water charge.
Meanwhile, Ennis councillor Johnny Flynn (FG) wrote to the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly (FG) highlighting a number of problems with the Ennis water system and asking that the payment structure be completely overhauled.
The protest will take place in Ennis this Saturday, November 1, from 2pm.