People on the Right2Water rally against water charges in Dublin last Saturday
Diarmaid Ferriter misses the point about the movement against water charges. The key to understanding why hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets since 2014 lies not in a discussion about the abolition of rates during the 1970s but in the impact of austerity in this State since 2008.
The communities from which the water protests emerged were those who had suffered most from cutbacks under both Fianna Fáil and coalition governments. They were consistently told that there was no alternative to these policies. But the implementation of water charges was, for many, the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The fact that, despite derision from commentators, the movement not only sustained itself but grew, makes it more likely that people will feel that protest over housing, child poverty and numerous other issues may also be successful.
Anyone who wants to see a “civic-minded Irish Republic” should therefore be applauding those who took part in the largest social movement in this country for decades.
Dr Brian Hanley,
Why are you marching about water.
When you could be marching for other things.
Fergus Finlay writes:
“Who will march for Ivy McGinty? Or Mary Garvan? Or Mary Maloney? Or the hundreds of other Ivys and Marys who live lives of seclusion, trapped in a system in which they have no rights, no voice, nobody to speak for them? Or march for them?”
“How is it possible that up to 100,000 of us are willing to protest about a tiny charge to fix a broken water system, but nobody can be bothered to march for the most defenceless people in Ireland? How can we get so angry over things that aren’t going to destroy anyone’s life, and yet we can watch frail, elderly women being pushed and verbally abused in a public service and not march on Dáil Éireann? How can we be so triumphant about bringing the Government to its knees over water, and yet there are no banners for Ivy or the two Marys?”
Previously: ‘You Could See Her Cowering In The Chair’
Pic: Random Irish Photo
Annie West tweetz:
I could draw what 50,000 Right2Water protestors looks like, but erm *cough* I ran out of paper…
The Workers Solidarity Movement writes:
“The worst example of figure fudging appeared on the Irish Times website on Wednesday night, when journalist, Ronan McGreevy attempted to coroborate the Garda figure by using an app called CrowdSize. His estimate came to 32,000. It all looked very plausable, if you weren’t there. The problem with McCreevy’s use of the app, was that he only filled a fraction of the ground that was covered by protesters, the area around Merrion Square west, where the stage was. It is possible that he didn’t move from that area…overall, the estimate I got from running CrowdSize on the areas I covered was around 65,000, and given what others have told me about numbers in areas I didn’t cover, the attendance had to have been in excess of 80,000 at the very least.”
Previously: The Final Countdown
RTÉ journalist Fran McNulty speaking with an Irish Water protester in Phibsborough, Dublin 7, after she and other protesters discovered he was secretly filming them on Tuesday
Last night, RTÉ journalist Fran McNulty did a report for Prime Time on the Irish Water protest on Wednesday and a general piece on the protesters.
During his segment he spoke to two meter installers, without identifying them, the contractor they work for or where they’ve been installing meters.
He also travelled to Mullingar where he met a so-called ‘water meter fairy’ – a person who removes water meters for those who don’t wish to have them, for free.
This man was also not identified.
As for the secret footage of the protesters in Dublin 7, Mr McNulty reported that he witnessed no intimidation of the water meter installers by the protesters.
From last night’s show…
“It’s so unpredictable when you get somebody who comes out with a knife, starts waving it in front of you, golf clubs, baseball bats, a hatchet, you know, swinging these things, breaking windows, slashing tyres, you’re on edge, kind of, you’re kind of more conscious of what you do and where you go, even to the shop, going home at night, you’re kind of watching your back…One particular time, at the traffic lights, a car pulled up beside me and they just asked me to roll down the window, I thought they were looking for directions and they spat into my face. There’s a different element in these protests right now and it seems to be organised and a small group that you continuously see during these protests that they, in turn, the people that do that [makes a gun gesture by pointing this two fingers to his head] to your head and tell you, ‘get out of town’ you know, that they’ll recognise you. And it could potentially get worse you know…It’s my job like, I’ve a wife and a child and a mortgage. I need the job so, you know, work isn’t that plenty.”
– A water meter installer
“Oh, they come in groups, maybe two or three together in groups and they come in in a car and they knock on all those doors and they come ahead of us, maybe knocking on doors, and then they get everybody else standing out behind them and then they get, then they get people standing out in front of us and then they pull barriers down and if there’s a young people they say they’ll get them also to pull everything down and, by the time the gardai comes then, the whole thing is in disarray.”
– A water meter installer
Water Meter’Fairy’: “I’ve been doing quite a few around Mullingar, Edenderry and places like that, Kinnegad and a few places. Mostly from people who are concerned because the meters can be removed so easily. In the last three or four weeks, [he had] about 60 [call outs]..I’m totally aware of the Water Services Act and that I can go to jail for removing them but I also feel that the way the meters are installed, they’re a danger to the Government.”
Fran McNulty: “What’s the difference between what you’re doing, you’re taking out a meter which is screwed into the water pipe and you’re just screwing in a blank cap, there’s no difference, you’re not improving safety.”
‘Fairy’: “Am I not, there’s a huge difference. It means that if somebody comes along here at 3 o’clock in the morning, to this lady’s home, they will have to have a two-foot bar like you have seen.”
McNulty: “But sure you could buy that in any hardware store, you’re not massively improving safety here.”
‘Fairy’: “I’m improving it by 50% but it’s to highlight the issue here and we’re hoping that Irish Water will do something and put it back to being a sealed unit, find some other way of doing their metering.”
Aidan McFaul tweetz: