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The West's awake
Cork City Council was occupied by protestors last night and the fortnightly meeting was adjourned as over 100 people chanted, booed and whistled in the Council chamber.
Gardaí were called to help restore order and helped to clear the chamber. The meeting was held up for around for 20 minutes as Council staff attempted to clear the gallery and restore order.
Protestors against the household charge had been picketing outside City Hall earlier before the meeting of Council but filled the public gallery halfway through the meeting along with those protesting the cuts to home help.
Around 7.30pm protestors began chanting and whistling, despite a request from the Lord Mayor John Buttimer to remain silent.
Three protestors gained entry to the chamber itself and occupied the Lord Mayor’s chair, while ringleaders appeared to orchestrate proceedings from the public gallery up high.
The protestors proposed the abolition of the house charge, the water charge and the septic tank charge, along with restoring the home help hours. Several councillors remained in their seats and in the Chamber during the protest.
Gardaí were called to restore order and cleared the gallery, while one member of the force remained outside the Chamber for operational reasons.
“I’m very disappointed by the conduct of those who were protesting tonight,” said Lord Mayor John Buttimer after the meeting.
“They also abused council employees, who were just doing a job, who were pushed out of the way, to enter the Council Chamber. They accomplished nothing and I would hope that all members of Cork City Council would condemn their behaviour.”
The actions of the protestors was praised by Socialist Party Cllr Mick Barry, who stated he was “proud of the campaigners".
“They were organised, disciplined and had a clear message,” said Mr Barry. “No to your tax, no to your cuts.”
“The City Manager got a taste tonight of what is in store in the level of opposition if the city drags ordinary citizens to the courts over the household charge.”
Protests are expected to continue agaisnt the household charge with suggestions that the occupation attempt will be attempted again.