Report of Cobh public meeting against water charges

Monday 10 November saw 250-300 people gather in the local GAA hall (one of the few venues in Cobh now able to accommodate the size of our meetings) to hear updates on the campaign from committee members Karen Doyle and Kieran McCarthy and reports from representatives of a selection of the more than 20 local estate/street groups organised against meter installations. We also had the local solicitor Anne McShane, who supports us as an activist as well as a solicitor, give an update on some of the key legal issues. The gender split of 6 women and 3 men on the top table being representative of the forces on the ground actively involved in the campaign.

Given the successes we have had so far the speakers were all positive and militant which was reflected back in the discussion from the floor. Hearing from the experiences of the estate/group representatives, who are all new to this kind of activism, was a positive encouragement to others in the audience and the top table was busy at the end of the meeting with people wanting to get more involved.

One of the highlights of the meeting, it certainly drew the loudest applause, was the reading of a letter to the President from a 14 year old local boy outlining his concerns about how the water charges will affect children (I hope to be able to post it here soon). Later in the meeting a slightly older teenage girl volunteered, with the enthusiastic support of the meeting, to set up a Cobh Young People Say No to Water Charges group – a potentially very significant development and another example of how the Cobh campaign continues to deepen and strengthen its organic roots in the community.

Our committee is looking to reach out to other community based groups like ours who are opposed to meter installations and support non-payment of the charges to get better national coordination. (Contact us at cobh.says.no.to.austerity@gmail.com)

We are supporting protests in Cork city planned for this month and are discussing with Right2Water about building for 10 December including getting a bus or buses from Cobh for that.

We are also initiating a petition from this coming Saturday calling on our local council to join the others around the country that have called for scrapping the water charges.

I took the following picture from the top table in my role as chair of the meeting.




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