The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, independent Cllr. John Campbell, has called on all people across the county to join the protests in Letterkenny and Ballyshannon tomorrow, Saturday.
“There are very many people who simply cannot afford to pay again for water,” the cathaoirleach said. “Then there are those like myself that are ideologically opposed to privatisation of our natural resources.
“But as well as that, there are the existing commercial water customers who have been paying for water,” Cllr. Campbell said. “This is the farmers, small business owners and industrial businesses in the county. I think perhaps they feel that this isn’t their fight: that it doesn’t effect them.”
He said: “What the government has been trying to hide in all this is the fact that those who presently pay commercial water rates are facing a huge hike in their bills.”
He cited, as an example, a farmer who presently pays €1.50 per m3 and has a free household allowance 240m3. When Irish Water reduce the free allowance down to their standard allowance of 30m3, the bill to the farmer will raise by €315, “and that’s at the lower price of €1.50/m3. At €2.44/m3 it’s an increase of €512”.
In addition, the cathaoirleach said, commercial customers in towns face a rate increase of 95 per cent for water and waste, moving from the current €2.51/m3 to €4.88/m3.
“This will cost jobs across Donegal: it will destroy farm incomes further and continue the slow death of rural Ireland,” the cathaoirleach said. “There is only one way to combat this and that is through all the different sections of Irish society coming together to boycott Irish Water and send this government a message.”
“We have seen the start of the government panic with the march in Dublin before the budget, another massive turnout will give people the confidence to stand together and defeat Irish Water,” Cllr. Campbell said.