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Photos from Dublin Water Protests on Sat Mar 21st 2015

category national | bin tax / household tax / water tax | photo-essay author Sunday March 22, 2015 22:49author by Water is a right Report this post to the editors


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There was a good turnout yesterday, Sat 21st in Dublin for the anti-water charges demonstration. The plan was for the various groups to assemble at Heuston Station, Connolly Station and Merrion Square and converge at O'Connell brigde which they did. There were groups from all over the country, from Navan to Clonakility to Galway to Dundalk as well as thousands of people from the various communities in the greater Dublin area. Thousands and thousands arrived with banners, flags and placards of all types adding a lot of colour to the demonstration clearly showing this movement is still very much alive and vibrant and gives us all hope and confidence that we can still win.

As the crowds arrived at O'Connell bridge, the moved up the street eventually filling up almost the whole length of O'Connell street. The stage was setup at the far end and this time the Right2Water campaign had arranged to setup large screens and sets of loud speakers at 3 or 4 points down the street which meant that the entire crowd could hear what was being said on the stage by the various speakers. This is often a problem at large protests where only those at the front can hear what is going on, so kudos to the organisers for that because it makes a big difference.

Brendan Ogle from the Unite Trade Union who seems to have a loud and powerful voice kicked off proceedings by rallying the crowd and then this was followed by a bit of music with two songs from a woman whom I never caught the name of the woman who was very good because the lyrics were fanatastic and relevant to this era of austerity and corporate/banker takeover. Then Ogle introduced Maeve Curtis a community group organiser in Dundalk who addressed the crowd and it has to be said she was very powerful and articulate in what she said especially when it comes from someone who as she said herself she was just a ordinary person a few years ago and never thought she would be addressing a large crowd in Dublin. She was followed by Ruth Coppinger, TD who drove home the key message that massive non-payment of this charge is vital if we want to win and retain the right to water. Then 3 of the jailed water-meter protestors appeared on the stage and spoke and thanked the crowd for their solidarity and support and in the way protests were organised within hours of being sent to prison and how essential this was to break this new propaganda initiative by the government. There were then several other speakers but the key message was that we are still here. Indeed the government and their corporate backers seems to be trying every trick to defeat the movement from the attempt to criminalise the protestors because they know in 'polite' company no-one wants to be associated with criminals and it is a technique widely used. However on Saturday it looks like their efforts went to a new lie because it was reported from the stage that the train from Sligo was mysteriously delayed for over 40 minutes which meant alot of people were unable to get to the protest on time. And it subsequent I found out there were 2 other trains with large groups of protestors travelling to Dublin and these were also held up with no reasons given.

It was announced that polls showed that 40% intend to pay 20% and the other 40% intend not to pay. The 20% are obviously sitting on the fence and will choose not to pay if the signs show that the charges can be defeated. However Ruth Coppinger pointed out that there will be no consequences for non-payment for the first 4 bills which will cover a year from this April and the reason the government did it this way is to kick forward any problems with dealing with non-payment until after the next election in 2016 thereby avoiding a certain amount of bad coverage for themselves.

The government won't be able to privatise Irish Water if there is still a significant amount not paying and therein lies the opportunity to win, but if people do pay in large numbers then before you know it they will hand over Irish Water to corporate interests such as Nestle the largest owner of water companies in the world and in a few short years the bills will soar to €500 to 600 per year. And like the way the ESB, Bord Gas, Eirtricity and all ther others have gone as soon as you get behind on your bill they start charging extra 'admin' charges, and are very quick to cut you off and charge you for the privilige. Make no mistake this is our chance to stop this and people would be crazy to let it slip.

author by Tpublication date Sun Mar 22, 2015 23:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This was filed yesterday by the WSWS site.... and this is the future direction we are heading if people start paying for water charges because once they get the election out of the way next year, whether it be FG, FF or any other neo-liberal political party, none of the verbal promises will be kept and they will sell it off. And yes we will be charged for sewage too! Support mass non-payment.

Detroit, the poorest large city in America, is set to resume water shutoffs for tens of thousands of residents. Next month, the city will begin posting 800 shutoff tags a day on the doors of residents who have fallen behind on their water bills, giving them ten days to pay up or lose access to water in their homes.

As many as 28,000 households could have their water cut off beginning in mid- to late April. The city has already begun disconnecting water service for hundreds of people who were “illegally” receiving water. The policy could potentially affect close to 100,000 people, or 14 percent of the city’s residents.

The denial of a basic necessity of life to tens of thousands of people in one of America’s largest cities reveals the real state of social relations in America. The American financial oligarchy and its political puppets in both parties are waging class war against working people in every part of the country. There are no limits to their ruthlessness, brutality or barbarism.

Last year, the city shut off water to more than 30,000 households, but temporarily halted additional shutoffs once winter temperatures made the process more difficult. The shutoff program is intimately connected with the city’s bankruptcy, which concluded late last year with the approval of a plan to slash city retirees’ pensions and health benefits and privatize city services.

The resumption of water shutoffs follows the announcement of water rate increases of 3.4 percent in Detroit. The sewerage portion of residents’ bills will go up by 16.7 percent. The broader metro Detroit area, including Wayne County, which has a poverty rate twice the national average, will see water rate increases of up to 12 percent.

In October of last year, US bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled against a challenge to the city’s water shutoff policy, declaring that there is no “fundamental enforceable right to free or affordable water… Just as there is no such affordable right to other necessities of life such as shelter, food and medical care.”

This is the unvarnished voice of the American ruling class, spoken by its black-robed enforcer. These words—reactionary as they are heartless—were spoken by the same man who presided over an illegal bankruptcy process, which, in violation of the explicit language of the state constitution, imposed sweeping cuts on the pensions of thousands of retired city workers.

Judge Rhodes was far more generous to the lawyers and consultants who made a fortune from the bankruptcy operation. He approved $178 million in legal and consulting fees, including $58 million for the well-connected law firm Jones Day, where Kevyn Orr was a partner until he was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to run the city. Orr took Detroit into bankruptcy in July of 2013.

This brazenly undemocratic operation was carried out under the de facto dictatorship of Orr, who superseded all elected officials during his one-and-a-half year stint as emergency manager. He had the bipartisan backing of both big business parties—a Republican governor and state legislature, a Democratic mayor and City Council, and the Obama White House.

Detroit’s water shutoff plan has drawn widespread international condemnation, including from the United Nations. In June, three representatives of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights signed a statement declaring that “Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.”

Even before the water shutoffs went into effect last year, Detroit already had an extremely high incidence of electricity and gas utility shutoffs, which have led to scores of fires throughout the city and dozens of deaths in recent years.

City authorities have claimed that charity water payment assistance is broadly available, but less than one thirtieth of those facing water shutoffs have received assistance so far.

Detroit’s plans to raise rates and cut off service to residents are driven by the demands of the banks and big investors, who are seeking to squeeze as much money out of the city’s impoverished population as possible.

The resumption of water shutoffs is bound up with plans to privatize the Detroit’s water department stemming from the city’s bankruptcy. In September, the city’s water department was spun off to a regional authority, with members appointed from the city, the surrounding counties, and one member appointed by the governor. The spin-off is widely seen within official circles as a prelude to the sale of the system to private investors.....

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author by Tpublication date Fri May 15, 2015 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a bill that was received by an elderly couple from Baldoyle, Dublin last week. As you can see the bill States the capped charge of €64.10 for the 3 months. However….as the couple had a meter fitted, the bill also shows the metered charge, had the cap not been in place. This cost is €416.13 for the 3 months. So, for a full year for 2 senior citizens, the bill would be…..€1664.52.


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