Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Irish Revolt; Massive Protest in Dublin;


Over 100,000 protest outside Irish
Parliament today:

USA solidarity delegation gets rapturous
Reception from crowds;

Right to Water Campaign to continue
Until General Election;

Nationwide No Payment Boycott to begin
In new year;

The Irish Government’s political strategy to counter the continuous protests throughout the country against the proposed introduction of domestic water charges by halving the proposed charges and postponing bills until April, 2015 and capping charges until 2019, was in tatters today as the massive turnout of today’s demonstration outside the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann, showed total rejection of any domestic water charges and the demand loudly made by the crowd as speaker after speaker called for the abolition of such charges and the dissolution of the proposed public water utility company, Uisce Éireann (Irish Water).

Braving the cold weather, thousands began arriving in Dublin this morning to attend the demonstration organised by the Right to Water Campaign, a group of Trade Unions, Residents Associations, Civic Organisations and Small Businesses representing the entire population of the Republic. Busloads of protesters from every County in the state, trainloads from main cities and towns began arriving from the early hours, many accompanied by entire families, men, women, and children to gather at arranged assembly points and proceeding to march into the City Centre to surround the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann, in a historic expression of public anger unprecedented in the history of the Republic. By 1pm, the crowds had engulfed the main streets on all sides of the Parliament building except for the front entrance which was occupied by a large force of Gardaí (Police) including a section in full riot gear and the Irish Capital was brought to a complete standstill for the rest of the day.

Police blockade entrance to Irish Parliament, today, 10.12.2014.

Police in riot gear outside Irish Parliament, today, 10.12.2014.

The demonstration was entirely peaceful except at the North side of Kildare Street, facing Trinity College where Gardaí had erected a mini “Berlin Wall” barrier across the whole street which came under heavy pressure from the massive crowd building up on that side of the demonstration. Police reacted in panic and began attacking members of the crowd who were unable to retreat because of the crush behind them and this led to several altercations. The use of untrained police members in these situations has resulted in similar incidents at previous demonstrations which the Government has used as propaganda to accuse the organisers of inciting violence, a slander which is resolutely rejected by the protesters.

At the main location at Merrion Square, East of the Parliament, the huge crowd was entertained by musicians and singers in between the political speeches by several Opposition speakers who unanimously supported the public demand for the withdrawal of the water charges and the dissolution of Uisce Éireann.

A solidarity delegation from the USA, from the Detroit Water Brigade, received a rapturous reception from the thousands strong gathering. The American friends promised total support for the Irish people’s demands and described in detail the suffering of the people of Detroit as a result of cutting of water services from the poor of the city unable to pay the exorbitant charges being imposed there.

If the Government were hoping that its dodgy revision of its water charges plans would dampen the protest movement against them, these hopes were trampled on the ground by over 100,000 angry people in the streets of Dublin today. Attracting worldwide attention, with TV crews from several European neighbours, Britain, USA, China and Russia, the anger of the Irish people was manifest, determined and unmistakeable in their total opposition to the Government’s failed proposals and any Government which ignores this is committing political suicide. 

Last week’s opinion poll showed Government support at its lowest since the 2011 General Election with senior coalition party, Fine Gael at 19%, a reduction of 18% and partner Labour Party at only 5%, insufficient to gain any seats If a General Election were held now. The Government has a stark choice now before it; either submit to the public’s demands or face complete wipe-out in the next election, which given the political instability, contrived only by themselves with gross incompetence in dealing with the Water problems will be sooner rather than later. A dose of reality badly needed at the Cabinet table. The People are determined to provide it.

Former members of the Irish Defence Forces join today's demo in Dublin

A message for Government from the people of Donegal in Dublin today.

Right to Water Campaign organisers announced that the anti-Water Tax protests would continue until the General Election whenever it may be held. The next major demonstration would be held in Dublin on Saturday, 31 January, 2015.

A nationwide “No Payment” Boycott Campaign would begin in April 2015, when the first bills will be posted to householders. The Government has claimed that over 900,000 registration forms have been returned by householders in its anti-protest propaganda but conceals the fact that thousands of these are marked with rejections of any contract deal with the Water Utility. Further, registration does not guarantee that payment will actually be made when the bills start to arrive and people find they haven’t the money at the time, especially if they realise that the No Payment Boycott is a success and the Government  plans have failed.

Opposition Deputy, Catherine Murphy reveals manipulation in awarding contracts for Water Metering Services at today’s demonstration in Dublin:


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