In the face of massive opposition to the water charges, the government have made several clumsy attempts to placate us, while their partners in the media seek to frighten us off the streets. The latest attempt, delivered by Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government in the Dáil on the 19th of November, is the plan to charge us €160 per year for our water and to give ‘eligible households’ a water conservation grant of €100.
On Thursday night RTE Primetime presented what many have described as a 'regime broadcast', an utterly transparent hatchet job of the anti-Water Charges campaign. This featured, supposedly, an anonymous water meter installer describing being accosted by knife, hatchet, baseball bat, and golf club wielding maniacal protesters – the sinister fringe. The core message transmitted in the program was 'you can protest, but don't protest effectively'. If you watched it (link below), what did you think?
'Smear Them' - Indo makes shocking newspaper vilification of anti-Water Charges campaign
The conveyor belt of smears against Water Charges protesters has lurched back into Full-Speed Mode, with Denis O'Brien's Irish Independent deciding to run this incendiary headline: ''Shoot him' - Protester makes shocking Facebook threat towards Taoiseach'.
This story, featuring in one of the largest publications on the island, is based on some Facebook comment a person seemingly made in anger: 'Shoot him make a martyr haven't had one in a long time'. This headline is ludicrous for a few reasons.
The revolt against the water charges is of a size and militancy that if we stay on the streets we will certainly win. But the revolt has also exposed in plain view the level of co-operation between media, politicians, big businessmen like Denis O’Brien and the gardaí. All have acted together to cajole, bully and suppress protest and then to lie and distort events.
Sometimes the media don't do a very good job of hiding their agenda. Wednesday's mass protest against water charges in Dublin city centre was a prime example. While anyone who was present could see that this was one of the biggest demonstrations in recent times, despite being on a workday afternoon in the middle of winter, the media tried to downplay the numbers.
While initially, the Garda press office said it wouldn't be releasing an estimate of the crowd numbers, within the hour, it backtracked, and said gave a number of 30,000 "plus". Of course, that is technically correct, the crowd did number over thirty thousand, but citing that figure insinuates that there might have been one or two thousand more, not the massive numbers that people who experienced the demo for themselves witnessed. It was as if they plucked a number out of the air.
So during a press event yesterday, Alan Kelly (Minister of Environment, Community & Local Government) said that he has other career opportunities if the whole water charges initiative ends his political career. We would certainly believe that, considering the fact that former political insiders can be valuable assets to wealthy individuals.
For example, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen went on to become an employee of Denis O'Brien. He was appointed to the board of fuel supply chain Topaz Energy Group as part of a team of seven new directors. Earlier this year Topaz won a €20m contract to supply fuel charge cards to the Gardaí, the Irish Prison Service and the Office of Public Works.
The scene at the bottom of Kildare street where the anti democratic protest barrier was erected to stop people getting within earshot of the politicians in the Dail. All days thousands of people stopped here to demand access to Kildare street.
In this scene one man turns to the crowd and asks if he will really be arrested if he tries to walk up the street. He then climbs over the barrier and starts to walk only to be rushed by several Gardaí. As the crowd chants 'shame' more Gardaí come down the street and stand on the inside of the barrier, and after some time the man is allowed to climb back over the barrier.
Regime sources are claiming there were only 12 people with a lot or mirrors at the Dec 10th huge water charges protest. And that they were in any case anarchist dissidents with bad haircuts who in no way represent middle Ireland which was safely tucked up in bed.
One of our dissident anarchist types was leafletting the march as it arrived at Merrion Square and doubled up by videoing sections of it . He then took a stroll down a jam packed Nassau street to have a look at the anti democracy barrier before, lured by the singing of Damien Dempsey returning to Merrion square itself . He kept the camera running and has edited together this video which gives a very good idea of both the size and composition of the crowd.
Note there are lots of places where lots of people were that he didn't get to, this is actually just a small section of a very much larger crowd.
WORDS Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )
We think its a disgrace that people are being to forced to queue in freezing temperatures overnight at the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin.
We met up with a North American student to ask her why this was happening and how we could help.
Q. Why are people queuing over night on Burgh Quay in the middle of winter?
A. There are 39,000 international students at present in Ireland, whereas there are only about 7,000 here on work visas (including new applications and renewals). All non-EU students, with a few special programme exceptions must register annually. The queues are huge, so now people are now *queuing overnight*, from 8 pm, until 8 am the next morning.
It’s appalling to realise that those of us queuing in the freezing cold are amongst the most privileged immigrants in Ireland. This shows the depths of indignity people bear against fortress Europe.