Scenes from today’s Irish Water protest from Random Ireland Photos, including Glan Hansard and Damien Dempsey (above), Catherine Murphy TD (second last pic) and Brendan Ogle of Right2Water (third last pic).
He may have insisted earlier today that nothing will change if even 50,000 people turned up today. However, despite even Right2Water organiser Brendan Ogle suggesting recently about 30,000 would turn up, many more than that have already arrived and are attending today’s anti-water charges protest.
Estimates of the crowd now are in the region of between 70,000 and 100,000 – packed into streets around Merrion Square and Leinster House, which is sealed off by a mixture of steel barriers and gardai. Alan Kelly has insisted nothing will change on water charges even if 50,000 people turn out for the protest today. Speakers at the even so far have been Ogle himself, Independent TD Clare Daly and Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams.
Perhaps said while anticipating a much smaller crowd, Minister Kelly made it very clear earlier – while speaking sat the front of Leinster House a few 100 metres away from the water protest site on Merrion Square – the package of changes he announced in the Dail last month was not only ‘fair and balanced’ but will also not be changed. In echoes of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘this lady’s not for turning’, he told journalists: ‘We have to go down this route, There simply is no other route. I am quite content in relation to where we are at and where we will go. I am satisfied that this will be delivered. I don’t envisage anything changing in relation to the package at all. I sleep on my pillow at night wanting to make sure I do the right thing. People who are cynical might not think that is true. I am quite content and happy about the package that has been put together… People get obsessed about elections all the time.There is too many of the people behind me – of the 166 TDs – who are continuously obsessed with elections. Elections happen, elections come and go. What will be will be.’