Wheelchair-bound man injured during water protest
A wheelchair-bound man was hospitalised after being injured during a water meter protest in Dublin.
Austin Dwyer, who is aged in his 50s, was protesting in Tonlegee Drive in Raheny shortly before 8am when the incident occurred.
Ollie Moore who witnessed the incident said: “There was a chap in the wheelchair and he was trying to stop a digger from breaking the concrete.
He had to get out of his wheelchair to get where the breaker arm was. He got out of the wheelchair and was beside the breaker arm.”
Ollie said Austin was injured during the incident.
“He was in very bad pain. The ambulance came after 40 minutes and took him off on a spinal board.”
Gardai were at the scene when the incident occurred.
Ollie said that there are about a dozen gardai on the road at the moment and diggers are blocked in. “There’s more people out protesting now since what happened this morning. People are getting pissed off that these meters are being forced down their throat. We’re going to stand our ground.”
Another local resident Theresa Kelly said: “Austin Dwyer is in a wheelchair and he lives with his 80-year-old mother and she’s in a wheelchair. They have been protesting for the last eight weeks.”
Theresa has made a complaint that she was assaulted at another water protest in the area six weeks ago.
“They were around the corner from me and I was at the barrier.”
She alleges that she took her phone out to take pictures when a worker was getting physical with another protestor.
In the ensuing melee she suffered a broken elbow and was removed from the road.
She said made a complaint to gardai who have taken statements off the Irish Water contractor but have yet to take statements off witnesses for Theresa.
Theresa and Ollie also claimed that Irish Water contractors switched off water supply to the homes of three residents last week.
Theresa said: “The three residents who are in their 70s and 80s asked for their water to be put back on. The workers said if they could put in the meters they would reconnect the water. Then they went off and left them for the night. They put out an appeal and a load of plumbers came down and reinstated it.”
Protests are still continuing at the estate and more gardai remain at the scene.
A spokesperson for Irish Water said they are looking into the matter and will release a statement shortly.