Big anti-austerity march in Ireland

This video from Ireland says about itself:

Water Tax, over 50,000 march in Dublin to protest against water charges

Today, 11 october 2014, groups from all over country converge on capital to oppose new measures.

Upwards of 50,000 people marched against water charges in Dublin today in one of the largest demonstrations seen in the capital in years.

The marchers took one hour and twenty minutes to pass the Spire in O’Connell Street as they made their way from Parnell Square, around the city finishing at the GPO in O’Connell Street.

While the Garda press office could not give a figure for the numbers in attendance, one garda observing the march estimated they could be as high as 100,000.

Banners could be seen from communities across Dublin, including Crumlin, Ayrfield, Clarehall, Brookvale, Donaghmede, Ballyogan, Finglas, Ballymun, Edenmore, Coolock, Tallaght, Clondalkin while others from outside Dublin came included ones from Carlow, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Offaly, Wicklow, Athlone, Ballyphehane, Co Cork, Letterkenny, Leitrim and Mayo. There were banners from trade unions Mandate, Unite, the CPSU, the Communication Workers Union and the plasterers’ union, OPATSI.

There was huge anger directed at Taoiseach Enda Kenny, as well as the Labour Party and at Tánaiste Joan Burton in particular for her comments during the week that anti-water charges protesters all seemed to have expensive mobile phones. A number of people carried placards with pairs of tin cans strung together attached, with slogans such as “My little phoney, Joaney” while one man was dressed as an iPhone. Other placards said:“Sold out by our own Government”; “Stick your water meters up your arse” and “Can’t pay, won’t pay”.

A number who spoke to The Irish Times, said the water charge was “the last straw”.

“Enough is enough,” said Kathleen McWilliams, a woman in her 50s from Artane.

“The property tax was bad enough but I have nothing left to give.”

There was also anger directed at the media which many protesters said had been agnoring anti-water meter protests around the country.

Among the chants were, “Enda in your ivory tower, this is called people power” and “From the rivers to the sea, Irish water will be free”.

One man was distributing plastic water meter hub caps which he said could be used to ensure a household’s water supply while others were handing out leaflets advising people that Irish Water did not have a legal right to force people to sign a contract with them, could not pursue money from people’s wages and could not cut off people’s water supply.

The Garda presence was low key, with small numbers standing some distance back from the march mainly on streets adjacent to the route.

Before the main speakers, the Resistance Choir sang from the platform and performed their song Now Is The Time For Rage.

Among the speakers was Audrey Clancy, of the Edenmore Says No campaign who urged people neither to fill in their ‘welcome packs’ from Irish Water nor to pay bills when they start arriving.

“We have to have mass non-compliance when these bills start coming in January. No contract, no consent.. We can beat this. We have to stick together. The power of the people is greater than the people in power. Stand up to them,” she said to enormous cheers.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett urged everyone to take selfies and email their photo to Tánaiste Joan Burton.

“Let her wallpaper her office with all the photos of people here. Will we pay the water charges?,” he asked, to which the crowd responded loudly, “No, no, no.” He urged people to take part in planned demonstrations around the State on November 1st.

“Today we brought Dublin to a standstill. On November 1st we will bring the country to a standstill.”

Independent TD Clare Daly said there were historic days from which point nothing would be the same, and this was one of them.

“The people are here with our mobile phones and our tablets and we’re saying, ‘You are not getting any more blood from these stones’.”

The crowd was also addressed by councillor Daithi Doolan (Sinn Féin), Jimmy Kelly of Unite and community activist John Bisset.

From Reuters news agency:

Largest Irish anti-austerity march in years targets water charges

Sat, 11 Oct 2014 19:53 GMT

* Tens of thousands rally in Dublin over new charges

* Anti-austerity candidate wins by-election seat

* Opposition says working class not feeling recovery

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people rallied against new water bills in Dublin on Saturday in Ireland’s biggest anti-austerity protest for years as a candidate calling for a boycott of the charges was elected to parliament in a by-election.

After years of free water services, the centre-right coalition has decided to charge households hundreds of euros from the start of next year, an unpopular move just 18 months before the next election where the government parties hope to be rewarded by voters for an economic upturn.

Ireland has seen relatively few protests compared to other bailed-out euro zone members such as Greece and Portugal, but Saturday’s protesters said the water charges were a step too far.

“There is absolute fury against what the government has imposed on the people,” said Martin Kelly, 50, a rail worker holding a placard calling for the government to “stop the great water heist”.

“They say this is the last bit, but it’s the hardest. People can’t take any more,” he said.

The improvement has allowed the government to promise its first budget without any new austerity measures in seven years on Tuesday, but opposition groups say working people are not feeling the upturn.

More than one in 10 are unemployed and more than 100,000 mortgage holders in arrears in a population of 4.6 million.


Paul Murphy from the Anti-Austerity Alliance, whose campaign was dominated by a call to boycott the water charges, won the parliamentary seat in the Dublin South West constituency that was vacated by a member of the governing Fine Gael party who was elected to the European Parliament.

Murphy, told supporters: “Recovery is for the rich, it’s for the 1 percent … it’s not for the working class people.” His supporters chanted: “No way, we won’t pay.”

Bookmakers had put left-wing nationalists Sinn Fein as heavy favourites for the seat and they were initially ahead, but lost by just under 600 votes.

Fifty-seven percent voted for candidates opposed to the water charges, while only 17 percent [voted] for the coalition parties.

But Dublin South West is among the most left-wing in the country, and the governing centre-right Fine Gael has topped most opinion polls this year, with support of 20-30 percent of voters.

Independent candidate Michael Fitzmaurice won a second by-election in the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency, narrowly beating a candidate from centre-right opposition Fianna Fail.

The Dublin rally organised by trade unions, anti-austerity groups and opposition parties snaked for miles around the centre of Dublin in the biggest show of force by anti-austerity groups in at least four years.

Organisers said up to 100,000 took part. State broadcasater RTE cited a police estimate of 30,000. (Editing by Stephen Powell and Robin Pomeroy)

See also here. And here.

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