Saturday 21 September 2019

Ban on protests will be challenged

By Esther Hayden

Sinn Fein and councillors Deirdre Wadding and Davy Hynes will be mounting a challenge to a decision taken at the January meeting of Wexford County Council.

The majority of members voted in favour of banning protests inside county buildings and will also be issuing guidelines for protests held outside the building.

However speaking afterwards an outraged Cllr Wadding said she would be challenging the vote.

'The Sinn Fein councillors, Cllr Hynes and I will be challenging the decision at the next meeting on the basis that it wasn't a legal motion because it was brought up under Any Other Business.

'The chairman (Cllr Malcolm Byrne) did word the motion but it was instigated by Cllr Robbie Ireton of Labour.

'We are currently putting wording together and I assume we will submit the challenge as a notice of motion challenging the ban.'

Cllr Wadding said she was totally blind sided by the backlash to the protest.

'I was absolutely astounded that anything like that (the vote banning the protest) would happen within a gathering of elected representatives.

'I was also totally outraged by Cllr Ireton describing the protesters as a mob. It was the height of disrespect and it was completely untrue. It was a very well organised people's assembly which fully complied with health and safety regulations.

'In fact the building manager even thanked us at the end of it.'

Cllr Wadding said the protest had been organised to address concerns about Irish Water. 'Instead of me marching in there with a list of questions this was a really democratic process. I didn't just bring my questions. I brought the public's questions.

'A lot of the questions we asked were met with 'We'll get back to you', or 'I'll look into that' or 'We don't have our legal representative here' but one question we asked was totally refuted by them.

'We asked them why had they gone onto people's property to install water meters when people had no trespass signs up. They absolutely refuted this and asked for specific examples which I didn't have but now I have evidence of two people in the Glynn Killurin area who had meters installed in their gardens when they had no trespass signs up.

'I've had an email back in response to some questions and we are compiling their answers.'

Wexford People

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