The Antoinettes



“All of the protesters that I have seen before seem to have extremely expensive phones, tablets, video cameras. There has been the most extensive filming in relation to any of these actions that I have ever seen anywhere. Hollywood would be in the ha’penny place compared to what’s done here.”

Tanaiste Joan Burton, October 9


“[The Irish Water protesters] should collect all the rainwater while out marching today and drink that for the week.”

Fine Gael councillor Laura McGonigle (above with Enda Kenny), November 1


“It’s interesting that this [Xmas spending] survey should come out this week when 120,000 people were marching on the streets saying they were really up against paying water charges. I’m assuming we’re talking about a different category of people who are going to be spending all this money on toys.”

Former Fine Gael Minister Nora Owen, November 7.

Nora Owen starts Twitter storm with comments on Christmas spending (Irish Times)

Let Them Drink Cake (Broadsheet)

Social media reacts angrily to Joan Burton ‘expensive phones’ comment (irish Examiner, October 9)

Pics: Photocall Ireland,

67 thoughts on “The Antoinettes

  1. les rock

    Taking the p*** out of us now. like standing behind a locked door going na na na na na. They are praying for a reaction

  2. Chris

    These people make me feel sick. I don’t even mind that they are in the circle, that’s politics, if you are a successful career politician it comes with a lovely cushion of entitlement, it’s their absolute disdain for people outside the circle. They don’t even try and hide it, it’s plastered on their faces and layered into every condescending statement.

    1. realPolithicks

      “I don’t even mind that they are in the circle, that’s politics, if you are a successful career politician it comes with a lovely cushion of entitlement,”

      You should mind Chris, it’s the “golden circle” that has the country in the condition it’s in. Once these people join the club, their only interest becomes in remaining in the club. Frank Flannery, until recently a highly placed insider in FG describes cronyism as being “like the Ebola of Irish politics – incurable”. That is a great insight into the mindset of these people.

  3. Tom Stewart

    Dear Fine Gael/Labour,

    It’s not just about money.

    I actually could afford to pay water charges. But I refuse to do so on the basis that PRSI and motor tax were raised in previous years to cover this exact expense. I don’t mind paying for a service, but I do mind paying for it twice. Even if I earned €100,000/year, this would be the same. I don’t like being taken for a mug. Do you get it now?

    1. Tom Stewart

      “It’s interesting that this [Xmas spending] survey should come out this week when 120,000 people were marching on the streets saying they were really up against paying water charges. I’m assuming we’re talking about a different category of people who are going to be spending all this money on toys.” – Former Fine Gael Minister Nora Owen, November 7.

      Sorry to labour the point, but by that logic, your attitude is “If they have money in their pockets, then we can remove that money via taxes, and they shouldn’t say anything about it”.

      1. ahjayzis

        Sure we’d only spend it on ourselves and our families if we didn’t. What’s the problem here? How much does little Timmy REALLY need Santy to spend this year? John Tierney has Christmas in Bermuda booked for fupp sake, ye tight shower.

      2. Odis

        And don’t you daft milch cows think the 23% VAT you will paying on your Chrissy presents is enough.

      3. Boba Fettucine

        That’s exactly their viewpoint. If you have money in your pocket then Revenue are not doing their job properly.

        I’m always reminded of the line from Bladerunner – if you’re not cops you’re little people. In Ireland, if you’re not public sector you’re little people.

    2. Happy Molloy

      you don’t get tired of being the taxpayer who has to pay for everything?
      isn’t it fairer that everyone pays for the utility, even if they are on social welfare, share the burden if you will.

      1. Tom Stewart

        EVERYONE paying an ADDED tax to what they do already doesn’t sound like a great deal to me.

        1. Steve

          This whole thing about we already pay for it is annoying. It misses the point completely.

          Consider the following. You have a 1996 Toyota yaris. The rear axel is messed, exhaust is hanging off and the breaks are screeching. But every 10,000kms you are changing the oil and filters.Yes you are putting money already into the car but could you really argue you are maintaining it properly??

          1. Sam

            Poor analogy Steve.
            The Yaris is a private vehicle, not something for the use of all.
            There’s people who’ve never been for a ride in an ambulance, but we all pay for them, because they are a necessity for the public good.
            Likewise the water reservoirs, treatment systems and pipe networks. We all need them, we all pay for them, therefore the most appropriate method of funding them is general taxation.

            Whereas, the Anglo bondholders… perhaps a drawing of a euro on the toe of the boot that kicks them up the hoop,,,

            If we commodify water, it will be privatised not long after. We’ve enough vultures circling this country already without offering up a service like the water we drink.

          2. Steve

            Ah alright, you are correct. I should have thought of the ambulance, makes more sense.ok so just change my yaris for the ambulance, which has the same mechanical problems, and my analogy makes perfect sense.

            On the privatisation issue, i can’t argue with you, you know that. People are arguing it’s going to be privatised , other people, including the government etc., are saying that it’s not. We could do this until the cows come home. I hope that future governments won’t privatise it. All I can go on is history. The only critical piece of network infrastructure to be privatised in Ireland ever was telecom eireann. All parties recognise that was a mistake. Even at the height of the recession none of the critical infrastructure was sold off. Let’s hope future govs keep that in mind.

          3. do i have to

            you can go ahead and hope away but I’d rather be sure. while you base your hope and assumptions on past Irish government action, I’ll base my doubts on past IMF behaviour. Privitisation of public assets is a standard method of IMF recouping its loans and while we still owe them money – which will for the life time of many governments to come – our water – is up for grabs. And in case you missed it – Bord Gais was already sold to private corporation Centrica – we have thankfully retained the network.


          4. Steve

            Yes I did know that. As I said none of the “critical” infrastructure was sold. I wouldn’t regard Whitegate Power station, when Ireland has thousands of conventional MW’s of surplus energy, as critical. I also wouldn’t regard ex-SWS Windfarms or a retail supply company, where there are already plenty of alternative suppliers, as critical either. But hey maybe I’m wrong

      2. ahjayzis

        I believe in progressive taxation – that people only pay what they can afford in proportion to their income. This is not about usage or conservation, it’s about a massive public works project to bring our water system into the 21st century – that should be paid for according to means, like when we upgrade hospitals or schools around the country. No amount of reasonable conservation or sparing usage will let you avoid a charge.

        I do support a metering system whereby abject wastage is charged for – filling a swimming pool / lawn sprinklers / weekly car washing – but not going over 21k litres a year, that’s paltry and obviously not inteded as a conservation measure – it’s a revenue raising exercise.

        1. Steve

          Revenue raising exercise -couldn’t agree more – hence my use of the analogy in my first comment.

          Other point I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. I see water services as a utility, like electricity, that needs to be payed by all and where social supports help those in need to pay, like in the case of electricity through the household benefits package. And the argument that you could live without electricity is horseshit. Even Boyd Barrett wouldnt voluntarily go back to no twitter, only candles and woodfire on principle. Anyway food is fundamental to life and people living on Vico road pay the same for a bag of apples from aldi as those living in darndale.

          1. ahjayzis

            Well I’m not flat out against metering and charges per se, but charges if they exist should maintain the network – not build one from scratch. That is a public works issue and should be funded progressively, like with the vast majority of roads, all hospitals, schools, etc. It is not ‘user-pays’, it’s everyone must contribute the same, the millionaire and the single mum on benefits.

            If the school-building programme was to be funded by all parents of children in school based on the amount of children who are using the school system, minus an allowance of 10 hours education a week it’d be the same principal as Irish Water.

            If there is a charge there should be an ability to pay zero – to pretty comfortably stay below the charging limit by using water sensibly, kitting out your house with tap/shower aerators, grey water, rain water harvesting etc. That’s real conservation and a real incentive and will limit the amount of capital needed to increase supply in the decades ahead.

            But this is open-ended – will there be a point at which we can say, yep, we’ve got our network up to scratch,we can now ramp down charges to a subsistence and maintenance level for the forseeable future. That’s actually pretty doable – if the network is ‘fixed’, we’ll find ourselves with DOUBLE our current capacity in water-not-leaked alone.

            But this is Ireland and that won’t happen and everyone knows it, based on the health levy, the insurance levy, the pension levy – all diverted after their original purpose to something else. The surplus monies will be paid to government as a ‘dividend’ and your water rates will be funding something else entirely, while rising year on year.

          2. Steve

            Ha I think we are starting to debate completely different things, kind of lost you there but yeah good points above

    1. O'Neill

      Might have been bottled. Can’t imagine her drinking water from a tap. Only the purest Evian for our dear leaders.

      1. Hashtag Diversity

        True. Never any smoke without Salmon. Labour are dead in the water now, electorally. Whereas once they were the part of Roisin Shorthall now it’s the part of Burton and Bacik.

  4. Eoghany

    I think they are saying that the people spending €1500 on Xmas, and €600 on iPhones ought not to be giving out about having to pay for water. It’s the people who can only spend €150 on Xmas, and have to scrape together €5 in coins to top up their ready to go’s, (of which there are many people) that will really not afford to be able to pay water charges.

    1. aretheymyfeet

      And because this is all about privatisation. The idea first arose during the ‘boomier’ times when there was no need for off balance sheet funding, so that whole argument they give is a crock. Irish water run like Irish banks, fupp that.

  5. Mario Balotelli

    Christmas and mobiles phones sure.. the NOTIONS of yiz.. next it’ll be food, light and heat you’re wasting money on, when there’s banks and bond-holders to be taken care of – not to mention poor old Irish Water staff and their bonuses.
    Turn out your pockets, plebs.. now..
    It’s pretty obvious Irish Water and the governments’ own hubris and arrogance is going to bring them down. Pretty soon too. God knows what will replace them but they’re finished.

    1. aretheymyfeet

      Totally agree, they seem oblivious to how close they are to collapse. Bring it down I say! Couldnt make the last march but you can bet i’ll be at the next one.

    1. TK ickle

      I think when they gave themselves the ability to get pensions etc when they “left” politics, back in the 70’s they realised they could get away with anything.

      I still don’t know how they managed to get away with that or were allowed to.

  6. Dissident Citizen Frilly!

    Nora Batty, never was a name more suiting.

    Damn right I’ll spend wtf I like.
    My funds are tax paid. I’ll do what I like wi’em.

  7. ollie

    goid demonstration of the me fein atitude of fine gael. Most of those protesting against water changes are showing solidarity with those less fortunate, fine gael must be packed full of people who only care about themselves.

  8. pixel_pimp

    really cant wait to meet these people at the ballot box – the kicking FF got will pale in comparison. this crowd promised so much and delivered nothing but broken promisses.

  9. inotherwords

    And yet in the deepest depths of the recession, we were all being told to dig a bit deeper and to spend more at Christmas to give the exchequer a bit of a ol’ boost before year end.

    It seems that not only can we never be happy with our leaders but they are never satisfied with how we act either. It’s a bad fit all round … time to start over?

  10. Boba Fettucine

    Here’s something that’s bothering me. Who is there left to vote for? FG/Labour have demonstrated themselves cut from the same cloth as FF. SF I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them, so what does that leave?

    Broadsheet should run candidates in the next election.

  11. Dissident Citizen Frilly!

    Here. Edna does look like he’s going in for a sneaky nipple twist

    He likes big girls don’t he

    1. Anne


      I don’t get how you can get away with that, and my comment re the Joan and her mouldy head is gone.

  12. ahjayzis

    Exactly how much are we paying Nora Owen every year and how many decades has it been since she did a day of work to earn it?

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