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Photos from Dublin Water Protests on Sat Mar 21st 2015
bin tax / household tax / water tax |
Sunday March 22, 2015 22:49 by Water is a right
Click on thumbnail image(s) to view full resolution
There was a good turnout yesterday, Sat 21st in Dublin for the anti-water charges demonstration. The plan was for the various groups to assemble at Heuston Station, Connolly Station and Merrion Square and converge at O'Connell brigde which they did. There were groups from all over the country, from Navan to Clonakility to Galway to Dundalk as well as thousands of people from the various communities in the greater Dublin area. Thousands and thousands arrived with banners, flags and placards of all types adding a lot of colour to the demonstration clearly showing this movement is still very much alive and vibrant and gives us all hope and confidence that we can still win.
As the crowds arrived at O'Connell bridge, the moved up the street eventually filling up almost the whole length of O'Connell street. The stage was setup at the far end and this time the Right2Water campaign had arranged to setup large screens and sets of loud speakers at 3 or 4 points down the street which meant that the entire crowd could hear what was being said on the stage by the various speakers. This is often a problem at large protests where only those at the front can hear what is going on, so kudos to the organisers for that because it makes a big difference.
Brendan Ogle from the Unite Trade Union who seems to have a loud and powerful voice kicked off proceedings by rallying the crowd and then this was followed by a bit of music with two songs from a woman whom I never caught the name of the woman who was very good because the lyrics were fanatastic and relevant to this era of austerity and corporate/banker takeover. Then Ogle introduced Maeve Curtis a community group organiser in Dundalk who addressed the crowd and it has to be said she was very powerful and articulate in what she said especially when it comes from someone who as she said herself she was just a ordinary person a few years ago and never thought she would be addressing a large crowd in Dublin. She was followed by Ruth Coppinger, TD who drove home the key message that massive non-payment of this charge is vital if we want to win and retain the right to water. Then 3 of the jailed water-meter protestors appeared on the stage and spoke and thanked the crowd for their solidarity and support and in the way protests were organised within hours of being sent to prison and how essential this was to break this new propaganda initiative by the government. There were then several other speakers but the key message was that we are still here. Indeed the government and their corporate backers seems to be trying every trick to defeat the movement from the attempt to criminalise the protestors because they know in 'polite' company no-one wants to be associated with criminals and it is a technique widely used. However on Saturday it looks like their efforts went to a new lie because it was reported from the stage that the train from Sligo was mysteriously delayed for over 40 minutes which meant alot of people were unable to get to the protest on time. And it subsequent I found out there were 2 other trains with large groups of protestors travelling to Dublin and these were also held up with no reasons given.
It was announced that polls showed that 40% intend to pay 20% and the other 40% intend not to pay. The 20% are obviously sitting on the fence and will choose not to pay if the signs show that the charges can be defeated. However Ruth Coppinger pointed out that there will be no consequences for non-payment for the first 4 bills which will cover a year from this April and the reason the government did it this way is to kick forward any problems with dealing with non-payment until after the next election in 2016 thereby avoiding a certain amount of bad coverage for themselves.
The government won't be able to privatise Irish Water if there is still a significant amount not paying and therein lies the opportunity to win, but if people do pay in large numbers then before you know it they will hand over Irish Water to corporate interests such as Nestle the largest owner of water companies in the world and in a few short years the bills will soar to €500 to 600 per year. And like the way the ESB, Bord Gas, Eirtricity and all ther others have gone as soon as you get behind on your bill they start charging extra 'admin' charges, and are very quick to cut you off and charge you for the privilige. Make no mistake this is our chance to stop this and people would be crazy to let it slip.