While rain is free and plentiful and free in Ireland, it appears water is not. Public outrage is sweeping across Ireland over the introduction of mandatory water meters that would raise the cost of living for many in the country. With the introduction of the water meters, Ireland will be paying some of the highest rates for water in Europe.
Previously, water came out of the taxes of the Irish people, but a stipulation in the 2010 EU bailout of Ireland now requires water meters for its citizens, raising the annual charge of water to 278 euro.
Many of the protests are centered not so much on the introduction of the meters themselves, but the poor levels of drinking water throughout Ireland. The country’s Environmental Protection Agency routinely fails more than 14% of Ireland’s drinking levels, finding parasitic bacteria that may be harmful to people. In many places, residents have taken to purchasing large amounts of bottled water.
For now, peaceful protests continue to be waged across the island as dissatisfaction and anger continue to boil over.