Anti-water charge protest to focus on non-payment

Protest efforts must now translate into mass non-payment of bills, campaigners say

Protesters bin their bills as part of the anti-water charge protest from Parnell Sq to Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Protesters bin their bills as part of the anti-water charge protest from Parnell Sq to Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Organisers of Saturday’s anti-water charges march said the protest focus must now translate into mass non-payment of bills to provide the next government with a mandate for their abolition.

One of the organisers, People before Profit councillor John Lyons, said the next demonstration was planned for May 1st* in Dublin.

He said there were no major national protests planned but discussions were ongoing: “It won’t be a major national demonstration against water charges but several groups from around Dublin will take part.”

Mr Lyons said he was happy with Saturday’s turnout . Organisers estimated 10,000 people (unofficial estimates placed the number at half this) marched from Parnell Square to Leinster House where they were invited to bin their first bills.

“I was concerned because only a handful of counties had bills delivered, so we were pleased with the turnout of 10,000 people on Saturday. It just shows the momentum behind the anti-water charges movement is still there.

Growing movement

“It’s the biggest mass movement in the history of the State which has grown consistently since protests began in local communities a year ago.”

 

Mr Lyons said there was a lull in December but the mass protest held in March helped to reignite the movement.

“The momentum behind the anti-water charges campaign is unbelievable. The past five years, there have been campaigns against the home help cuts, hospital closures, the local property tax, the household charge. It was always a battle to mobilise people but the water charges issue has completely changed that.”

He said in the next six months, mass non-payment of water bills and more demonstrations would spell the end of Irish Water, as well as triggering an early general election.

He said the non-payment rate for commercial water charges stood at 45 per cent; if the same rate applied to domestic charges, Irish Water would be abolished.

 

*This story was edited on 20/04/2015