Irish Water: Ireland Protests The Irish Water Charges

There are defining moments in history which mark a change in direction. Every generation, every country and every group has some event transpire which encourages belief and galvanises the spirit.

In Ireland we are no different.

We are a tiny country steeped in a rich and volatile history. Our very recent past has been marked by a viscous recession in the 1980’s, followed by a time of extreme wealth and profligacy in the late 1990’s and 2000’s with a return to the bust cycle and the current austerity and recession.

Less than a week ago more than 100,000 people gathered in the centre of the city to protest at the privatisation of the Irish Water Supply. We made a video about the day and the people standing up against the regime.

They came from all walks of life, all ages and groups but all shared the same message: enough is enough. For those of you unfamiliar with the story let me do a quick synopsis of how the Irish Government came to be in the position of taking such an action.

Tens of thousands gather in front of the GPO

Tens of thousands gather in front of the GPO

In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, Ireland was one of the first countries to have to duck for cover. The credit which had been extended and lent for ten greedy long years to the Irish Banking fraternity was retracted.

The Government made a decision to guarantee the loans of two bankrupt Irish banks, thereby condemning many generations of Irish taxpayers to pay back billions of Euros which had nothing to do with them.

It was a financial coup d’état

You see, the Irish Government did not come up with this plan all on their own. Their hand was forced by the IMF and the ECB. These two banking conglomerates colluded to ensure that the citizens of Europe would be responsible for the gambling debts of financial institutions.

They threatened governments, told them they would be cut out from the system and doomed for a meltdown of gargantuan proportions, if these private investors were not repaid.

And so the Irish Government toed the line.

Start of March

Crowds gather at the start of the march

When the public heard about this and realised the extent of the damage, they voted out the ruling party Fianna Fáil and put in their old enemies Fianna Gael.

What transpired in the following years was that people realised that it made no difference which of these two parties were in power. They had no ideas, no gumption to stand up to the technocrats of Europe and no ability to lead. It was the most virulent and emphatic example of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: Power corrupts all the same.

Fast forward a few years to the present day. The Irish people have suffered cut backs to all the sectors of the economy…the sick, those learning and the elderly have all suffered. The poor have got poorer and the sick have got sicker, while a few fat cats lick the cream from the top.

The austerity measures which have been enforced from the ruling elites in Europe, have been willfully distributed to the citizens on the ground.

It seemed the Irish were taking it on the chin. Maybe it was all the fluoride in the water. Maybe it was the incessant conditioning through the various mainstream media publications and channels. Maybe it was that the people were so depressed that they had lost their spirit.

Whatever way you looked at it, it seemed like the Irish people were rolling up their sleeves and accepting the dictates as dictated by their elected Government.

Young Kid Starting Chants in front of the Dail

Young boy leading chants in front of the Dail

Then along came Irish Water

Irish Water is a private company which has been set up to charge households directly as per the volume of water which they use. Meters are currently being installed around the country. The company installing these meters is owned by one of the richest Billionaires in Ireland, a Mr. Dennis O’Brien, who also controls a large section of the media in this country.

This is not a new tactic. And let me be clear, this is NOT a tactic which the Irish Government came up with. This is something which the IMF and World Bank have been doing worldwide for decades.

It is a very simple formula. Convince a country to borrow vast sums of money at high interest rates. Demand repayment. When they fall behind their payments, take their resources.

While this might seem a very chunky and simplified formula it is something which you can apply to any situations where the IMF and World Bank have been over the last 50 years. They have ripped up vast tracts of Latin America and Africa in this way. Now it is simply Ireland’s turn.

Protester holding up banners at the gates of Dail Eireann

Protester holding up banners at the gates of Dail Eireann

When the people began to realise what was happening here in Ireland they slowly but surely got more and more concerned.

Didn’t we pay for water already in our taxes? Hadn’t we been funding the local councils who were administering the water supply already? What gave the Government the right to set up a private company to control this most basic of human rights? And wasn’t the supply of water an essential right for every man woman and child in this country – whether they could afford it or not?

So through various groups and concerned individuals a protest was organised. A protest was organised and over one hundred thousand people came to it.

It was a peaceful and forceful demonstration. It brought the city to a complete standstill and will have sent a clear message to the obsequious civil servants who are somehow in charge of the ship: Enough is enough. Scrap this water charge and make it work another way.

Crowd went on for miles around Dublin City

Crowd went on for miles around Dublin City

How about writing down some of the billions we are paying back each year on the interest we pay back for private financial institutions? That would be a good start although that would mean having to have some tough conversations with their masters in Europe.

Have the leaders of Ireland got the intelligence and the balls to stand up to these vultures who are preying on their meek and servile personalities?

If not then I am sure there are people ready to step up to the plate.

Ireland is changing. There is revolution in the air. Something which has been dulled down and crushed for so long came alive last weekend…Hope. Every man woman and child who was there felt it. Every person there understood the gravity of the situation.

Enough is enough.

It is time for change. If the current leaders are too blind to see that, then we need to get rid of them.

If you missed last week’s protests fear not – an even bigger one will be happening on the 1st of November coming. The 100,000 who came will all be bringing one or two more.

Make sure you come along.

Be part of something bigger than you.

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Post By John Leonard

A blogger who loves to make short documentaries. Spent many years playing football at a pretty decent standard. Fond of the poker. He is another good egg.

Website: → Sober Paddy

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  • Andrea

    Thanks for explaining the background and recording a moment in history. 100,000 is a lot of people!

    • It is a HUGE amount of people…will be bigger in two weeks time when the next protests are scheduled!

  • Christel Price

    So good to know what is going on in other parts of the world. I had no idea about this. The video was excellent. I think we are seeing a lot of this around the world also where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and people are getting tired of feeling like they have no say in what happens. I think it’s time we looked at the political systems we have in place and decide whether they are really looking out for the majority of the population or just the rich elite. Thanks John!

    • I think it breaks down as simply as that Christel…are we looking after the interests of the wealthy elites or are we trying to make the world a better place? Politicians are caught between serving their paymasters and appeasing the populations…currying favour so to speak. It is a model which is not working to bring us forward as a race. It will take many years of education, learning and spiritual expansion before we can lead our people in the correct way.

      • Christel Price

        Very true. It will take years to change, but I hate to think what the world will look like in 50 years if nothing is done and the elite continue to do what they are doing. It’s great to see people all around the world standing up for what they believe in and fighting for change.

        • The people have the power. We all need to realise it lives in every one of us. The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing!

  • Tabitha

    This is a topic I’m not so knowledgeable in so it has been good to sit down and read your perspective John. Toward the end when you said that it’s time for change, I just don’t understand how they can’t see that. I think you’re right, ‘out with the old, in with the new’ if they’re so blind.. Very informative piece. Thank you.

    • Thank you Tabitha,
      There are no simple or easy solutions to this. Those in power seem to be motivated more by the having power and keeping it, rather than the desire to make this country a better place to live. I think we are ready now for some real change…there is a massive groundswell and people have simply had enough.

  • This is interesting. And different from what you guys often post. I’m a bit confused though – most other countries require the citizens to pay for the volume of water they use. Is the difference in this instance that normally that charge is to the government and in Ireland’s case it will now be paid to a private company? That’s a whole lot different than governments selling off their health funds or other types of businesses – water, as you say, is a basic human right.

    • There are many different ways which water is distributed in countries…some pay for it through progressive taxation, some pay per volume used to the government, some get it free of charge and some pay through private companies. The issue here is that up until now, water has been paid for through progressive taxes. Now the Gov are turning it into a commodity, run by a private company which, under TTIP agreements which are happening behind closed doors between Europe and the US, will mean that soon it will be illegal for the gov to have a monopoly on the supply and control of this commodity. What this means is that massive Transnational Corporations will be able to buy up the resources and sell them, charge more etc etc. Ireland has a strong socialist backbone and water is a right which many people believe should be free (or, paid for through the progressive taxes). There are tens of billions being paid back to private investors every year which the tax payer foots the bill for…many see this as a complete injustice.
      Apologies if this deviates from our normal topics! 🙂

  • Ulrike Schuermann

    Unbelievable that basic services are being commoditized – about time people get up from behind the TV screen and speak up for their rights and excellent that you are giving them a voice beyond Ireland!