You can tell a lot about someone from what they worry about. The Housing Minister Simon Coveney isn’t so much worried about people sleeping on the streets at the moment. He is losing sleep about the thought that other people might fill their swimming pools with free water!
Great news from the courts today (17 Feb) where 11 out of the 13 Crumlin water charge protesters arrested last year have had their cases dismissed. Although 2 are still to face trial in May this is a victory not just because 11 are already off but because the judge seems to have smacked down the Garda attempts to interpret the Public Order Act in a way that would outlaw a lot of protest. This is a significant slap down for the political policing pushed as a strategy by the Labour Party & Fine Gael to try and demoralise the water charges movement.
January 2016 and once more thousands of people across Ireland take to the streets to protest against the introduction of the water charges. Our footage is from the Dublin demonstration but similar demonstrations happened in most of the major towns and cities.
Numbers were down considerably on previous protests, particularly in Dublin but this is because a general election is imminent, its expected the date of the election will be released any day. Parliamentary elections like the one coming up in Ireland are set up to cause division and rivalry between groups that in fact have very similar policies, its a consequence of a system of decision making that tries to force us to choose between various leaders, self-proclaimed or otherwise.
The photo shows the Jobstown 23 'Drop the Charges' banner on its way down the Quays to the courts on Parkgate street. The Jobstown 27 charged in connection with the protest last November which saw Labour Party leader struck in her car because of a sit-in just in front of her.
Revenge came initially in the form of over the top dawn raids on the houses of water charge activists and now after a long delay many are charged with crimes as serious as false imprisonment - the maximum sentence for this is 14 years - despite the fact that several Garda were also around her car at all times. The number facing charges means this may be one of the largest political trials in Ireland for some decades.
One more tens of thousands took to the streets of Dublin as the governements attempt to force water charges on the population looks more and more like it has failed. This high quality footage of the march in progress will give you a sense of the size and composition of the marches.
Ireland is in the midst of a massive popular awakening as hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to protest the introduction of water charges. After too many years of austerity it would appear the people have decided enough is enough and almost spontaneous rebellion has appeared in every town and city. Confrontations between Gardai and campaigners that are reminiscent of the suppression of protest in Rossport have erupted in Dublin suburbs.
Thousands of people marched through Dublin June 20th to protest the continuing attempt to impose water charges on the 'Burn your Bills' protest.
The next water charges march happens in Dublin June 20th. Here are 3 reasons why you should do your best to be on it.
1. Both the government and Irish Water are refusing to release figures about the number of people who have not paid the bills. The reason is clearly that so far this figure is very high - if it wasn’t they would be sure to have it plastered all over every newspaper front page. A large turnout for this demonstration is important so that isolated non-payers do not get a sense that non-payment is not flagging.
2. Meter installation blockades have continued all around the country but for four weeks one well known Dublin protester Steven Bennett has been held on remand in Cloverhill prison because he refused to accept stringent bail conditions that would have prevented him protesting. The government abandoned attempts to intimidate protesters with the court injunction after the jailing of the Edenmore 4 backfired and resulted in mass protests. It’s essential that they continue to understand that repression will lead to protest and that they can’t pick off people they view as uncontrollables.
There were more arrests of water charge campaigners in Dun Laoghaire yesterday (19 May) and two of the four arrested are up in court around now.
Dun Laoghaire court remanded one of the water charge protesters arrested 19th May to Cloverhill prison for a week. An emergency protest called for the 20th blocked the quays and O'Connell st for an hour in the evening demanding his release.
Stephen Bennett is a well known water charges activist in Dublin who has been successful in defending himself in numerous cases brought by the Garda. He was remanded after refusing bail conditions that would have denied his freedom to protest in future. These conditions were clearly intended to remove him from the streets.