Gardai abuse austerity protestors
Gardai abuse austerity protestors


There have been demonstrations against Garda police brutality in Dublin after two women taking part in a peaceful sit-down protest against water charges were injured when Gardai smashed down a glass door.

On Monday, the Gardai were attempting to forcibly end a protest at a county hall building in Swords in the north of the city. The protestors were opposing the use of council funds by Irish Water, a new semi-state body destined for privatisation.

A video of the incident shows the gardai dragging away protestors before pushing and kicking their way through a revolving door. A woman’s voice can be heard shouting “you’re hurting me”. As the women scream, the glass is heard to shatter.

The video footage then shows one woman left bleeding profusely from her face and neck while the gardai ignore appeals for medical assistance.

“The gardai were less concerned about the health of the women and more concerned about simply getting them out of the doorway, they never called an ambulance and left one woman to walk back to the gate by herself,” according to supporters.

Demonstrations were later held outside Balbriggan Garda Station, where Gardai involved in the incident are stationed.

Sinn Fein TD and Spokesperson for the Environment and Local Government Brian Stanley also described plans to hand Irish Water the proceeds of funds held by local authorities as a sign that the government rhetoric surrounding Irish Water was “a sham”

He said the Irish people was now being expected to pay three times for Irish Water’s “toxic” business model.

“Local services have been decimated in the search for cash. How many libraries will go underfunded, how many playgrounds will go unmaintained?

“How many potholes will go unfilled in the very streets that Irish Water dug up to install their now unused water meters? How long will the government stand over this bloated, toxic mess? The government has constantly scrambled to defend Irish Water, but their rhetoric will not excuse this gross waste of money.

“Irish Water must be abolished immediately to stem the one-way flow of money into a body that does not seem interested in being anything other than a vehicle for taking money and spending it on advertising campaigns for justifying their own existence.”

Support for the anti-water-charges campaign has grown further in recent weeks as the first water bills have been delivered to householders. Significant numbers of bills were deliberately issued in error as a means of encouraging random citizens to engage with the new semi-state Irish Water as “costumers”.

Last week, a woman was shocked and distressed to receive a letter from Irish Water addressed to her husband who has been dead for six years. Jessica Montague from Wexford received a letter from Irish Water addressed to her deceased husband, which read “Tom Montague RIP.”

“I can appreciate someone making a clerical or database error, but someone had to input the data and put in the words RIP after my husband’s name. I don’t know why they would deliberately do that,” she said.

Thousands took part in protests to mark the delivery of first bills. Speaking at a rally in Cork, Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins said that if the Dublin government raised the tax on the major corporations by just 1 per cent, it would raise five times what the government was seeking from householders annually through the water charges.

“We say - put that tax on big business, not on the working class who can pay no more,” he said.

One of the organisers, Councillor Mick Barry of the Socialist Party and Anti-Austerity Alliance told the rally that if enough people boycotted their water charge bills over the coming months, it would force the government to abolish water charges once and for all.

He warned if people did pay their water charge bills, then they can expect Irish Water to raise their charges over the coming years with the company being privatised.

“If they get they get foot in the door for their water charge and it comes in and people are paying it - when the cap is lifted, the water charge will go through the roof,” he said.

“But if enough people boycott the charge and there can be no penalties for a year, then there will be serious pressure on the next government after the next election to abolish the charge.”

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