Sunday, November 02, 2014

IRELAND: Popular Revolt Expands Countrywide


Historic scenes as Ireland 
explodes in anger; 

Tens of Thousands attend 
demonstrations across the country;

Demonstrations exceed previous 
100,000 record;

Sinn Féin becomes largest party
in new Poll;

Government fails to realise
political consequences; 

In historic scenes in every County in the Irish Republic yesterday, November 1, 2014, the Irish nation arose, in the largest protest movement in the history of the state, against Government proposals to introduce a tax on water from public supply.

In Dublin, the Capital, the city centre was locked down for the second time in two weeks as thousands marched from assemblies in local areas to the General Post Office in O’Connell Street for a protest rally against the tax. The GPO is the historic site where the
Declaration of an Independent Irish Republic was made on Easter Monday 1916 which led to the War of Independence against British Imperial rule and the establishment of a free Ireland, the hundredth anniversary of which will be celebrated in two years time.

From noon onwards crowds began gathering at local centres throughout the city and by 1.30 - 2.00pm were ready to march into the centre for the main rally in O'Connell Street. From the northside city the protesters assembled at the Connolly Rail Station, Amiens Street, and proceed to march along the north quays of the River Liffey to meet up with the southside contingent which assembled at Heuston Rail station and marched along the south quays towards the centre. 

Both crowds conjoined at the half-way point, Grattan Bridge, and entered Parliament Street to the front of Dublin City Hall, then turning left into Dame Street, Dublin's Financial street containing the Central Bank of Ireland, and the headquarters of Ireland's largest banks, Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish, both of which have been bailed out of the financial crisis by Irish taxpayers. At this stage the crowd had reached near 40,000 and took some time to arrive back in O'Connell Street where more demonstrators were still entering the street. Organisers estimated a final figure of more than 60,000 as the rally began.

Outside Dublin, in all 25 other counties of the Republic, there were similar scenes in other major cities, Athlone, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dundalk, Drogheda and many other major towns, smaller towns and even villages as the population registered its protest. Organisers estimated the national figures outside the Capital as over 90,000 making a total for yesterday's protests at more than 150,000

The Right2Water campaign which organised most of yesterday's protests intends to continue with more activities until the Government withdraws the Water Tax legislation or until the General Election due in March 2016. But, given the volatility of the political situation as revealed by the latest opinion poll, the survival of this Government is now in serious doubt as backbench concern over the serious fall in support for both Government parties is becoming more vocal and critical of the Government's leadership failures.

Government out of touch with reality:

Government reactions have continued with an arrogant disregard for the People's rightful anger at the shambles they have made of the situation and the crass attempt to heap more hardship on an already overtaxed population fed up with six years of cruel austerity at the behest of the IMF and the Brussels Dictatorship. This means that they will pay even more dearly when the People's vengeance is exacted at the next General Election. An Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny's reply to journalists questions last night as he entered a Dublin hotel for a Party shindig was a prime example when he claimed that dropping the Water Tax proposals would require an increase in income tax to substitute, which is a blatant lie. The Government has just transferred €7BN from the Pension Reserve Fund to their new Strategic Investment Bank some of which could be used to fund investment in renewal of public water piping without any additional income tax hikes or foreign borrowing.

Another publicity gaffe occurred on Friday afternoon when Finance Minister, Michael "Baldy" Noonan made disparaging remarks about protesters while attending a signing event with German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Shauble, on the establishment of the Strategic Investment Bank which is being given some German investment funds. Baldy made the stupid remark  in reply to a journalist that if electricity were free "those people" would "leave their lights on all night and all their appliances plugged in", a remark which added to the public anger on Saturday. He followed with a remark that "water is a scarce resource you know". Well, if anyone should know that it should be Baldy Noonan as Ireland's largest River, Abha Na Sionnaine, the River Shannon, flows majestically through his constituency of Limerick City.

In so doing, as it has from time immemorial, it discharges into the Atlantic Ocean 208.1 cubic metres of fresh water per second which amounts to 45,775 gallons per second, 2,746,500 gallons per minute, 164,790,000 gallons per hour, 3,954,960,000 gallons per day.

So, what has this mouthy politician done about this prodigious waste of a "scarce resource" flowing majestically through his constituency at a rate of nearly 4 billion gallons a day? You guessed it; big fat Zero! The previous Government (Fianna Fail/Greens) at least produced a plan to construct a reservoir which would draw some of this water from the river and pipe it to Dublin which is at the limit of capacity at present and facing water cuts in the not too distant future. The current Government has failed to progress this plan to any degree, yet ministers like Noonan have the brass neck to lecture the population on wasting resources!

Latest Poll shock for Government as Sinn Féin takes lead:

This weekend's political poll by the "Irish Independent"  newspaper shows that Sinn Féin has emerged as the largest party in the State with 26% support, up 4% on the previous poll.

Both Government parties continue to lose support with Fine Gael down 3% to 22%, and
Labour down 2% to 7%. 

Fianna Fáil  are down 1% to 20%, Independents and smaller Left Parties up 2% to 23%.

The poll also reveals strong opposition to water charges and huge support for a new party
and only 8pc of voters believe they are better off as a consequence of Budget 2015.

The poll also shows that 67pc of people are uncomfortable handing over their  social welfare numbers to the new Irish Water Company for registration. A quarter of people surveyed said they will not pay their water charges when bills come through the door in January.

This is devastating news for the Irish Labour Party as it suggests they would be lucky to hold 2 seats of their current 30 if there were a General Election now.

Fianna Fáil can take no comfort from this poll either as their "comeback", based on the Local Government election results last June, seems to be gone with the wind of popular discontent over the Water Tax, which is supported by them.

Government arrogance is now totally at odds with the rapid changes going on in the public mind and their political position has become untenable as the failed plan to impose Water Tax has hit the buffers. Unless they change policy, and quickly, they are on the road to political extinction.

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