About 10 days ago three van loads of riot cops arrived at the door to No 2 Gardiner Place at around 9am, There they formed a Roman style tortoise shell shield formation and proceeded to start to batter the door down. Once in they stormed through the building, arresting the residents and dragged them down to the High Court for an eviction / injunction hearing at which they were forced to agree not to try and re-enter the house. No media outlet deemed any of this worthy of coverage.
Solidarity Times had been in the building the previous week, shooting some video in anticipation of a campaign in opposition to the eviction. We’re assembled a video report on the space from that footage as yet another example of the vast amount of empty housing that is around even inner city Dublin. Homelessness is not caused by a lack of usable buildings but by deliberately leaving such buildings empty and boarded up in order to create the scarcity that is seeing rent hikes and a new property bubble.
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.
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.
The Bolt is an abandoned hostel for the homeless that has been occupied and brought back into use by an alliance of 6 housing groups in Dublin.
In this video Solidarity Times interview one of the organisers in some detail about the building, support from local residents and what has been going on with the council.
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.
Thank's to the unpopular property tax we at least know slightly more about the super wealthy in Ireland. The government is normally very careful to neither collect information about this group nor to publish it in a way that would reveal the enormous gap in wealth and power between us and them. It would not do to have Joe or Josephine Worker realise that they could work for 10,000 years and still never approach the wealth of the Denis O'Briens.
A talk about the development & future of the campaign against water charges, a mass campaign of resistance to privitisation of water and an austerity tax that has emerged in southern Ireland involving hundreds of thousands of people.
Watch the video
After weeks of Garda provocation, and just after Garda beat protesters with batons someone finally snapped and threw a single brick back. When a politician as unpopular as Joan Burton uses dozens of riot police to force her way into and out of one of the most deprived communities in the state, what should be expected but angry protest. And when at a moment of unprecedented popular mobilisation those same Garda pull pepper spray & batons for use against water charge resistors what is a single brick bouncing off a car in response.
Almost two years after Shell smuggled their Tunnel Boring Machine out of Dublin port in the middle of the night, and then spent 3 days meeting resistance across the country before getting stuck in the bog, they removed it from Erris Monday night.
The first direct actions of the Erris struggle against Shell took place 8 years ago when 6 locals were injuncted and then 5 of them jailed for refusing to allow Shell onto their lands. In the 8 years that have passed there have been countless direct actions, dozens of arrests, about two dozen jailings and hundreds of people attacked by Garda or Shell's security company IRMS. But as the first two days of the week of action demonstrated that intense level of repression over so many years has yet to end effective resistance.