Water charge protesters heckle Taoiseach during speech in Sligo

The Taoiseach has been heckled by anti-water charge protesters as he made a speech in Ballymote, Co. Sligo.

A crowd of around 100 protesters were among an estimated 250 people who turned out to meet Mr Kenny in the town, where he has unveiled a monument to commemorate Irish emigrants who died in the American Civil War.

Mr Kenny struggled to speak above the din of protesters.

Earlier this week Tánaiste Joan Burton defended the controversial new plans by government to deduct unpaid Irish Water bills from wages and welfare payments.

Ms Burton says the measure is long overdue because it will stop people from going to jail for unpaid bills.

Opposition parties say the new rules will turn the government and other agencies like private landlords into 'pickpockets'.

Anti-water charge campaigners claimed the scrapping of jail terms for those who do not pay bills demonstrates the 'panic' their movement has caused.

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