Water charge

News & Analysis of the resistance to the attempt to introduce a Water Charge from 2014, By late 2014 regular demonstrations of tens of thousands against the charge were taking place and confrontations were taking place in estates across the country as GMC Sierra crews tried to install meters in the face of community resistance. For the successful campaign against the water tax in the 1990s see our archive at http://www.wsm.ie/water-tax

Irish Chamber of Commerce Puts Profit Before Right to Protest

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The spokesperson for the Irish Chamber of Commerce has said 'We'd never deny people the right to protest - but the protest has to be done and managed in a way that causes minimal disruption to businesses', citing revenue lost by the massive anti-water charges demonstration on December 10th.

We cannot tolerate such anti-democratic statements. The crux of this position is that we can have some semblance of democratic rights and freedoms, but we have to remember that money comes first. The essential condition is that businesses have the maximum ability to make profits, even if it means curtailing protest.

Sunday World Story More Incendiary than Starring Petrol Bomb

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We have an easy winner for the WTF example of media bias this week in relation to the water charge resistance. The Sunday World journalists have pulled out all the stops in the service of Denis O'Brien as illustrated below. In case you miss the small print under the photo we have underlined it in yellow 'How it Could have Looked'.

The non exploding Drogheda 'petrol bomb' was a weak story in any case, a scare that felt manufactured before the Sunday World got creative with its photographs of a burned out van from somewhere else altogether. But really what sort of excuse can be offered up for such transparent bias?

 

Sindo front page belies ESRI report: Austerity for Most, Good Life for Some

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The Denis O'Brien media published a remarkably badly considered Sunday Independent magazine cover story trying to convince us the good times were back. The reality as demonstrated by a recent ESRI report is that while Budget 2015 did indeed make those on high incomes richer it made most people poorer and hit the poorest 10% hardest of all.

The years of crisis have been used to impose a shock doctrine of neo-liberal restructuring of society in Ireland. Our health services have not just been destroyed but it's become all too common to see people trying to fundraise for needed surgery through online fundits. People are sleeping on the streets in freezing conditions right beside buildings which have remained empty for years after being bought up by property speculators. Tens of thousands of young people have been forced to emigrate, tens of thousands more forced onto Jobsbridge - a scheme that provides a massive subsidy to employers at our expense.

RTÉ Primetime Parrots State Propaganda on Water Charges

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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 Hypocrisy in Vilification of Anti-Water Charges Campaign

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'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 Water Charges: After we win, what comes next?

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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.

Water Charges Protest - Regime Media Numbers Just Don't Add Up

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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.

 

Kelly Banks on Jobs for the Boys

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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.

 

Video from Anti protest barrier on Kildare street as man climbs over

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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.

Video of Crowd at the Dec 10th Water Charges protest in Dublin

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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 )

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