Irish Republican News · March 21, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
‘We refuse to pay’ - Right2Water


Tens of thousands are preparing to march in Dublin today in the latest anti-austerity protest. Three separate marches, highlighting the impact of austerity and the new tax on tap water, are planned for Saturday afternoon.

Protesters will set out from Dublin’s Connolly Station, Merrion Square and Heuston Station and convene in a mass gathering at 1pm on the capital’s O’Connell Street.

Unite trade union official and Right2Water Ireland co-coordinator Brendan Ogle said the Irish “will not put up with this ideologically driven extra tax.”

He said the Dublin government is unwilling to publicly acknowledge growing opposition to the water charges, but is “terrified” behind closed doors.

Ogle insisted “the majority of the population will refuse to pay this tax”.

“They thought they had gotten away with socializing 65 billion euro of private debt, with a vicious five year austerity agenda. For five years those events caused nothing less than a national collective trauma. But now the Irish people have had enough and the government know it,” he added.

As part of its water taxation policy, the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government set up semi-state firm Irish Water in July 2013. The company is responsible for developing Ireland’s water infrastructure and billing citizens for water usage.

Against a backdrop of widespread poverty and a tidal wave of repossession orders surging through Irish courts, the firm has launched a 650,000 euro advertising campaign to demonstrate the “complex process” of water purification.

The company has long been the subject of criticism, and has been marred by multiple controversies since its founding.

Ogle said the coalition government’s planned water charges are an austerity tax introduced “by the IMF in a memorandum of understanding for the so called ‘bail out’ in 2009.”

He described Irish Water as “the economics of Milton Friedman encapsulated in one arrogant, bullying inept company.” He said the firm was unequivocally established “as a metered single utility to be privatized by a future government.”

Ogle was critical of Ireland’s mainstream media, warning it bolsters the interests of a neoliberal elite.

“Ireland’s mainstream media cheerlead the light touch regulation that wrecked our economy,” he said.

“Then they cheerlead the policy of austerity and debt socialisation that we have suffered from since 2008. They understand one economic orthodoxy only - neoliberalism - and are not encouraged by their owners or editorial lines to explore other options with an open mind.”


A new report has revealed this week that a group of just fifty high-rolling executives were responsible for the massive debts that brought the country to the brink and cost the state more than 64 billion euro. And just 22 property speculators accounted for 26 billion euro, according to the secret study compiled for the previous Dublin government.

The report compiled by global accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Cooper also estimated that at worst all the banks might lose was just over ten billion -- a sixth of the actual cost.

It has also emerged the country’s bankers misled the government and claimed they would lose even less, five billion, in the worst-case scenario.

But a leading bank economist this week claimed the real danger to the economy is now posed by Sinn Fein. Kevin Daly of investment bankers Goldman Sachs said they did not view mortgage arrears as representing the largest domestic risk to the economy.

“The biggest risk now, in our view, is provided by political developments in Ireland,” Kevin Daly, an economist at Goldman Sachs in London, wrote in the report.

Daly warned that “mainstream” parties were losing popularity because of low job and income levels. He said Sinn Fein’s policies “focus on a rejection of austerity and are similar in many respects to those of Syriza in Greece.”

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty said he would not be lectured to by somebody who represents an institution that was “part and parcel” of the global banking crisis.

“When you have a party like Sinn Fein that is supporting a stance against austerity it is unsurprising that you would have these global financial institutions come out and attack the position of the party, and without any real knowledge of what the party actually stands for,” he said.

“Sinn Fein is a people centred anti-austerity party with a focus on promoting equality. We are continually challenging the status quo, which is threatening to elites with vested financial interests to protect.

“We wish to tackle fundamental economic issues for the benefit of all, not just for the pockets of some.”


* More details on today’s protest is available at

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