Water campaign group calls for further protest on December 10th

Right 2 Water says anyone who cannot protest peacefully against water charges should ‘stay away’

Brendan Ogle of the Right to Water campaign group said anyone who could not protest peacefully should ‘stay away’ from the next protest on December 10th.

Brendan Ogle of the Right to Water campaign group said anyone who could not protest peacefully should ‘stay away’ from the next protest on December 10th.

 

The Right to Water campaign has called for a mass mobilisation of citizens to again protest against water charges in Dublin on December 10th and has said it will not discontinue its campaign until they are abolished.

But members of the group insisted that anyone who felt they could not protest peacefully should “stay away”.

Speaking in Dublin to announce plans for its next protest, Brendan Ogle of the campaign group said recent protests in Dublin and around the country had seen massive support from hundreds of thousands of citizens “without a single arrest”.

In the context of the mass mobilisations seen to date, any incidents had been “very, very minor”.

“It is in the interests of the Government to blow it up and hype it up. We don’t diminish it. Some of the incidents in isolation have been serious. But in the context of what we have seen over the last number of months, of people power in action, they are negligible.

“We want to be very clear. One time and one time only. Peaceful protest is the only way. Be peaceful and if you can’t be peaceful, stay away.”

“We understand that a lot of people are angry at this Government policy. And we understand that a lot of people are angry at six years of austerity. But we want to send a very clear message. Anger is not a strategy and anger is not a policy.”

Mr Ogle said the campaign had achieved “the biggest mass mobilisation in the history of the State”.

“We have achieved a most dramatic reversal in Government policy, which will continue tomorrow and will continue after that again.

“How we have achieved that is through mass mobilisation of peaceful protest. We clearly call for everybody out there. We respect your anger. You must restrain your anger. The vast majority have. For the very small minority that haven’t, peaceful protest is the only way.”

He said anything other than peaceful protest would damage the campaign and would damage the chances of hundreds of thousands of people of winning on the issue.

Claiming the Government’s revised package of measures were “ a bribe” to try to deflate the anti-water charges campaign, the group said it would continue until water charges were abolished.

Mr Ogle said the reformed package of measures was a way of attempting to “sneak in this regressive water tax” and to trap citizens into a contract with Irish Water and to eventually hand water resources into private hands for profit.

People had also been told the charges were about conservation. But it was clear form the package of measures to be announced that it had “nothing to do with conservation”.

The group said the flat-rate system of water charges was “unfair and unjust” and that the cost of water should be funded through a direct, progressive taxation system.

John Douglas of the campaign group said the “lavish spend” on Irish Water would have been better put to use on improving water infrastructure.

Categorising the Government’s plan to announce major changes to how water charges are to be implemented as an “introductory offer”, campaigners said people should “read the small print”.

They said any apparent concessions or allowances now would eventually be withdrawn once the principle of user charges was established.

“This campaign will continue. It’s a long-term campaign, it’s a political campaign. We never thought for one moment it would end to day, or next week, or month. It will only end when water charges are abolished and water is safely secured in the hands of the Irish citizens,” Mr Douglas said.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said the package being announced by the Government was a “con trick”.

“The issue is regressive user charges that are unfair and, for many, unpayable.”

Other TDs who attended the event included Paul Murphy, Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Catherine Murphy and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin.