Why I went to the water protests: ‘Enough is enough’

‘I think this is the final straw now, I can’t do it anymore,’ one protester says

‘Enough is enough, this Government needs to change,’ says John Flanagan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘Enough is enough, this Government needs to change,’ says John Flanagan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

John Flanagan (43), Rathfarnham, Dublin

I’m a mental health nurse. I work for the Dublin Simon Community, my partner is a midwife and between the two of us we’ve been hammered with the Universal Social Charge. That, water tax and the homeless people, enough is enough, this Government needs to change.

The movement is growing legs because there’s so much to be against. Particularly if you’re a homeowner; you think about the simple things like house insurance, life insurance, car tax, it’s an endless stream of expenses.

You’d think me and my partner would be comfortable given our livelihoods, but we’re really not. We’re almost thinking of getting the hell out of here. We’d have a better life as nurses in Australia, and most other countries. The middle class are being hammered.

Antoinette Boccarossa (40), Walkinstown, Dublin

I can’t afford to pay anymore. I can’t afford to look after my kids, to pay for doctors, dentists; I just can’t cope. I work full-time and I’m self-employed- both me and my partner. I’ve been struggling for the last six years and I think this is the final straw now, I can’t do it anymore.

I believe totally that we should fight for our rights. It’s about survival, because if you can’t pay your bills you can’t put food on your table, and you can’t survive. It’s become about survival in my family in particular here today.

I think the Government are arrogant, I don’t like the way they’re treating the people. They’re not listening to the people who are being forced to do all this.

Donal O’Keeffe (52), Togher, Cork

This is the only option people have open to them at this stage. They’re not being represented in the Dáil, and they’re not being represented by any of the politicians who were elected in the last election. I think they’ve done this country a disservice, this Government and the previous government, and I think people have had enough now.

We’re here, and we’ll keep coming back until we get representation from the Government. They feel they can just take someone’s vote and then do what they want when they get the power. I think that has to change, and events like this will change it. The people in the Dáil, they just have to take note of it, and hopefully this will signal a small bit of change in the country. Any change can only be good.

Frank O’Flaherty (73), Cork City

I’m up here today with a Cork contingent, and we all decided to come up here today- we left home this morning at 8 o’clock. We did it because water is a human right. We heard everything that’s said up there on the stage- about people being trampled on and squeezed dry, and it’s very bad.

It’s had a terrible effect on young people. They know everything that’s happened in this country as well as I do. This had to come out, and I hope it won’t stop.

The turnout is brilliant, it’s great to see the people- young, middle-aged and my age. And it sends out a message to the Government- wise up to yourselves, and listen to your own people.