Europe

Irish protesters say will not accept proposed water charges

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Thousands of people have participated in nationwide protests against recently-introduced water charges in the Republic of Ireland.

On Saturday, separate protests were held in towns and cities across the country against a government decision to set charges for domestic water consumption, which used to be free.

RTÉ, an Irish state broadcaster, said that in excess of 120,000 people attended the protests.

According to the broadcaster, 10,000 protesters took to the streets in the city of Cork, and over 8,000 people demonstrated in Letterkenny and Drogheda.

In Dublin, around 20 protests were held, with a mass of approximately 10,000 taking to the streets of the capital.

“Primarily, people are here today about water charges, but really it’s about austerity. We’ve simply had enough,” said Martin Kennedy, one of the protesters in the capital.

Limerick, Waterford, and Dundalk witnessed demonstrations of about 5,000 people each.

The protesters said the services are free, and therefore they will not pay the bills due in January 2015.

The new charges would cost the average household between 200 and 400 euros per year.

“We acknowledge people’s anxieties right across the country about issues regarding affordability for water charges and we’re prepared to address those,” RTÉ radio quoted Ged Nash, a junior minister at the Irish Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, as saying.

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