TWO residents from Glenties and Moville have denied that men installing meters on behalf of Irish Water (IW) were threatened or intimidated in their respective areas.
In Friday’s Donegal News, we exclusively reported that IW had ordered the installation of meters to be stopped following instances of “targeted aggression” towards metering teams in the Inishowen and Glenties areas.
A senior garda also confirmed to this paper that Gardai are actively investigating an incident in which an IW surveyor was “approached by a number of men” in Moville on the morning of Thursday, May 14.
As a result of the IW move, one Ballybofey-based meter installation sub-contractor confirmed he laid off 25 men on Monday as well as a further six on Friday.
Two more contractors, based in Buncrana and Pettigo, have let go around ten men each.
However, one Moville resident, Mr Enda Craig, said protesters there “utterly and completely refute” that any IW employee was attacked or threatened in the area.
Meanwhile, a woman claiming to represent Glenties residents said she would also like to refute allegations made on air and in print that IW workers were harassed or intimidated.
“At no point, in Glenties, was anyone threatened in any way and no one in Glenties would support any such behaviour,” said Ms
Corinna McCallig from the ‘Donegal Says No’ group.
Mr Craig, on the other hand, confirmed that a meeting took place in the Ard Na Guala Duibhe housing estate in Moville in an act of solidarity with residents who had meters “illegally installed.”
He also claimed that meter installers had verbally abused a 77-year-old woman at 6:45 am one morning after she approached them.
Mr Craig explained that, as people left the Moville meeting, they identified an Irish Water van parked on the Malin Road.
“A number of people approached the driver’s window where it was seen he was busy writing. He lowered his window and stated he was an Irish Water surveyor and not a meter installer,” he said.
“He showed his ID when requested and was asked why he was driving an Irish Water van with no company logo markings on the sides. He was told this was illegal and that he was in breach of his own company’s rules and regulations. He made no response. The people there requested him to take a message to his bosses that the breaching of all the various rules and regulations (as outlined above) had to stop and, most importantly, there was to be no more verbal abuse of any residents. He agreed to convey the message and at this point he decided to leave. He started his van and left. This ended the interaction with the Irish Water employee.”
He concluded: “We utterly and completely refute the version of events put forward in the Donegal News article published on Thursday, May 21.
“People who were actually there would have had no difficulty providing an accurate account of what actually happened had they been contacted prior to publication.”