Statement from Communities Against Water Charges


We Won’t Back Down

On Monday the 24 November 2014 we expect four of our friends and neighbors to be committed to prison for exercising their right to peaceful protest. They are to be punished for failing to abide by a High Court injunction granted to GMC Sierra which requires them (and any other protester) to, among other things, remain at least 20 meters away from workers installing unwanted water meters.

This injunction, in spite of the High Court Judges claims to the contrary, obliterates any meaningful right to protest against the installation of water meters. For that reason protesters throughout Dublin, and the rest of the country, have rejected this illegitimate interference with their right to protest, and have continued their dignified resistance to the installation of water meters, and the water charges regime.

This injunction, and the expected imprisonment of our friends and neighbors on Monday, represents another attack on the people of this country, and on the right to peacefully resist and oppose the unjust policies of an unrepresentative government. In the coming weeks and months, we expect the establishment to engage in many more attacks on our movement, using the law as one of its main instruments.

For this reason, we have been working with groups around the country on building legal defence funds: this is a collective struggle for our basic rights and a better future. For that reason, any person that ends up in court for resisting this illegitimate tax and attempt to commodify the most basic of necessities, needs to know that they will not be alone, and we will stand with them. We therefore call on the Right2Water Campaign, its affiliated unions and the political parties that have stated their opposition to the water charges, to contribute what they can to the Peoples Defence Funds.

If, as feared, our friends are imprisoned on Monday we are calling for a mass, silent candlelight vigil outside of the prison they are committed to (most likely Mountjoy Prison in Dublin).

As the struggle against this unjust double-tax enters a new phase, and a beleaguered government begins to lash out with all of the means at its disposal, we will make it abundantly clear that fear will not carry the day in this contest, and that nobody who stands against this injustice will stand alone.

Communities Against Water Charges


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5 responses to “Statement from Communities Against Water Charges

  1. I’m afraid this whole business is quite incomprehensible to anyone outwith Ireland, why should you get free services, especially when your government is broke? More to the point though, you seem to have confused protest with obstruction. Now I’m not saying that obstruction might not be justified in the circumstances (I can’t judge the issue), but at least be honest and admit that you’ve had to resort to force to prevent what you believe to be an injustice, which is something rather beyond a simple right to free speech and public protest.

    • I don’t speak for Communities Against Water Charges, but let me answer your comments.

      In fact, large numbers of people outside Ireland understand precisely why people are protesting against the imposition of regressive water charges, particularly in the context of years of economic policy measures designed to protect elite sectors of Irish society at the expense of the broad majority, and the transformation of private banking debt into public debt.

      There are very few people who misunderstand it so radically, like yourself, as to believe that protesters are demanding water gratis. Nearly everyone involved with the protests recognises that water has to be paid for; they just think it should be done out of general taxation. Indeed, this is what happens at the minute.

      As for the argument that ‘the government is broke’: this has no bearing on the matter of who pays. People still pay for the water, it is just a question of whether this is a progressive policy or a regressive one, whether water is a human right, or a commodity like any other.

      Obstruction is not the use of force. Or to put it more finely, obstruction only entails the use of force when there is a force seeking to remove the obstruction. Standing in the way of Irish Water workers is a form of peaceful protest; it is not the use of force.

      • Well it all depends on whose behalf you feel the water workers are acting. If they’re acting on behalf of a democratically elected government, where everyone has behaved properly and constitutionally, then in theory at least they’re carrying out the will of the majority, so to obstruct them forcefully would amount to violence on your part. OTOH you may feel that the action has been taken without due consideration and so feel justified in delaying it and forcing reconsideration. OTOH you may simply believe that you live in a dictatorship. If so you would need to justify that position. E.g. do you think your elections are rigged? You surely don’t want me to believe that Irish people are incapable of electing a government to look after their interests, or perhaps that your politicians are too incompetent to deliver? After all you are a republic, with your own home-grown constitution, so who can you blame but yourselves? What, for example, stopped you dealing with the banks and their friends the way Iceland did, another small independent republic?

  2. Daithi

    “After all you are a republic, with your own home-grown constitution, so who can you blame but yourselves? What, for example, stopped you dealing with the banks and their friends the way Iceland did, another small independent republic?”

    I presume you’ve not seen the ECB letter to Brian Lenihan then?

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