Anti-water charge demo planned for Labour Party meeting

TD Paul Murphy accuses Ryan Tubridy of an ‘exercise in badgering’ on ‘Late Late Show’


Anti-austerity campaigners will travel to Killarney next weekend to protest at the annual Labour Party conference.

Campaign group Right2Water is organising a major rally at Killarney’s Market Cross for February 28th to coincide with the appearance of Tánaiste Joan Burton and party supporters.

Thousands of people joined anti-water charge protests in Dublin and Castlebar, Co Mayo on Saturday. In Dublin, a protest, led by the families of jailed anti-water charge protesters, was attended by more than 5,000 people, according to gardaí. Organisers estimated 10,000 people attended.

About 170 protesters demonstrated outside the constituency offices of Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Tucker Street in Castlebar, before gathering outside the TF Royal Hotel, where the Fine Gael national conference was taking place.

As protesters attempt to pile pressure on the Government, Right2Water will be joined by members of anti-water charge campaigns from across the county next Saturday as they march to the Killarney’s INEC conference centre, where Ms Burton and Labour Party TDs and senators are meeting.

Heavy security

The Labour Party conference will also be the scene of a protest by members of the the campaign group Legal and Equitable, who are chartering a bus for a “road trip protest” from Dublin.

The group provide assistance in court to householders facing repossession orders from the banks. The group is also challenging some of the legal measures that have given effect to austerity in Ireland.

Dubliner Brian Reilly, who is organising the road trip protest, said it was originally intended to be held at next Sunday’s fourth anniversary Ballyhea protest in Co Cork.

This protest against the 2008 Government bailout of the banks has taken place on a weekly basis in the small town, south of Charleville, on a weekly basis for four years. TDs and MEPs who have joined the Ballyhea protest in solidarity include Shane Ross and Peter Mathews and Luke Ming Flanagan, Mr Reilly said.

Labour press officer Dermot O’Gara said he hoped the road trip protesters would enjoy their time in Killarney, and that hoteliers and other service providers locally would surely be glad to see them.

Mr O’Gara said security arrangements were already in place and no additional measures would be taken because of the bus trip.

The Right2Water protest in Killarney is expected to be more heated following the jail sentences handed down to protesters in Dublin last week.

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy told the demonstrators at the Dublin march on Saturday that the “establishment” was terrified of the anti-water charges movement and was using all “the tools they have” to counter it.

“They have the guards. They have the courts. They have the Denis O’Brien-owned media. They have the Late Late Show.

“But we’re going to win. We’re going to win because of working-class people-power organisation, mobilisation like today. The fact that so many people came out, maybe 10,000 people, at two days’ notice – that’s a sign that people are reacting, people are mobilising. People know what’s happening is absolutely wrong.”

He said the use of media and the legal system to defeat those who would stand up to the “establishment” was not new.

On Saturday he said his appearance on Friday night’s Late Late Show and his interview by host Ryan Tubridy, “was an exercise in badgering”. Mr Murphy’s supporters took to social media before the interview ended to criticise what many felt was an uncharacteristically robust interview.

An RTÉ spokeswoman said it had no comment, but pointed out that Tubridy may use his radio show to respond to criticism.