The protest in Dublin last Saturday. Photo from Right2Water Ireland Facebook page.
Donegal public representatives have called on Fianna Fáil to make their position on water charges clear, following Saturday’s national protest against the charges, which saw thousands take to the streets in Dublin.
Speaking to the DPP/DD yesterday, Sinn Féin Cllr. Albert Doherty was also critical of the reporting of the march by the national media.
“A considerable number of people from Donegal travelled to Dublin to take part in the march. I have gone through all the papers this morning and to be honest you would think that this protest never happened. As usual, anybody that did report on it have grossly underreported the numbers attending.”
He said, “The figures mentioned were in the region of 15,000 people - it is a recognised and accepted fact that the numbers were in excess of 50,000 protestors.”
Cllr. Doherty added that the protest had drawn, ”a large cross section of people from every strata in Irish life - it was not, as some have often said, a ‘rent-a-crowd’. These are people who are simply opposed to yet another unfair tax.
“In Dublin on Saturday, there was a feel-good feeling, but that has not translated down to rural Ireland. It is time for Fianna Fáil once and for all to make their position totally clear.”
Thomas Pringle, independent TD, said: “This is the eighth time that massive crowds have gathered to to oppose water charges. Even though the charges have been suspended we need to keep the pressure on to make sure they are ended once and for all.
“We cannot rely on Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to abolish the charges and we know from our painful history that they will double-cross us, so we need to be vigilant,” he said.
In response, Leas Cheann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil TD, Pat “the Cope” Gallagher said: “I would like to remind people that but for the intervention of Fianna Fáil in the negotiations leading up to the formation of government, these charges would not have been suspended. Fianna Fáil were instrumental in having a commission set up to examine these charges and it will report back to the Dáil for decision.
“However I would confirm that as per the recent statement of Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil are opposed to the charges,” he said.