Irish Water debacle heating up
The latest Irish Water protest was another large turnout, although it wasn’t broadcast that widely. About ten to fifteen thousand people turned out on the streets of Dublin last weekend. This could represent a huge blow to the government’s plan, backed by the EU, to tax its citizens for water.
Water charges have been on the table since September 2014 and are still a bugbear for many. Now it looks as if they may be scrapped completely. Yet this has caused a huge rift between the ruling parties of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Meanwhile the EU is adamant that we will pay. So what is the alternative?
Claire Brennan, Convenor of Solidarity/ People Before Profit, spoke to the Circular about the current political crisis. She said that ‘the private market would have already solved the housing crisis if it could ‘ and that the Opposition provided an ‘alternative to affordable social housing’. She also commented on the lack of leadership shown by the Taoiseach and Tanaiste in regards to the recent scandals such as the Garda Commissioner breath test fabrication, and pointed to further changes needed.
Last night an excellent and heartfelt documentary premiered on RTE showing the effects of the housing crisis on young and single families. http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/irelands-property-crisis-30004609/10712185/ This concerned itself with inequality present within Irish society. It painted a picture of despair, of people suffering from injustice and greed. Yet there was also hope of an alternative and defiance in the face of injustice. This is what keeps people going in todays’ post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. This is also what drives anti- Irish Water supporters.
This public backlash has legs. Due to the Irish Water unrest, Solidarity/PBP have a good chance of snapping up more seats in the next election. The general public are looking for answers and alternatives, possessing a hunger and determination showed by protesters back in 2014 not to pay charges. Anger which has been simmering away for almost two and a half years may only make itself known in future polls.