Over 100,000 Irish Water protesters turned up on Saturday for another massive show of opposition towards the unfair second tax on the nation’s water supply. The high numbers were a definite message to the unpopular Fine Gael and Labour government. The movement which is made up of many parts, will not be going anywhere until they end their plan to continue with a tax that is one too many under the austerity policy.
— @FINGALOLS (@FINGALOLS) August 29, 2015
Today just one day after the latest national protest against the corrupt Semi-State quango Irish Water, yet another peaceful protester has been arrested and held for 6 hours. This follows the arrest of 23 other peaceful protesters just weeks ago after direct action in Jobstown Tallaght where the (Deputy Prime Minister) Tánaiste Joan Bruton had to sit in her car for two hours surrounded by Irish Water activists.
Protesters were made aware of their impending charges via a leak to the Irish Media from one of two possible sources, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution or the Gardaí. An investigation is now ongoing into the source of the leak. Charges are said to range from Public Order offences to False Imprisonment.
Video recap of Saturday’s massive Irish Water action.
This message was posted on Tallaght Says No to Water Metering’s Facebook Page just hours ago:
“A heads up to anyone who was involved in the Burton protest back in November – we have got word that there has been a fresh arrest today and the person was held for 6 hours…
We cannot give any more details at the moment – but as soon as we can and we find out more – we will let you know…
This could be a single case – but if not, keep your phones by your side and call someone, in case you get that early morning visit…
It was also reported this week that Gardaí have been spying on a large number of Irish Water Protesters under an operation named Operation Mizen. They track the social media usage and where abouts of a large number of people they claim to be the leaders of the movement. In yet another twist it came to light that the senior Garda over Operation Mizen is Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan the husband of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan who has come under fire for the rough behaviour of Gardaí towards protesters.
During one encounter at a pro-Palestinian peaceful sit it outside the American Embassy a protester moving off the road in compliance with orders given by Gardaí, was grabbed by the legs and dragged across a road. His face and shoulder were badly injured in the incident. The protester involved then suffered an epileptic fit while Gardaí knelt on his back. He eventually ended up in a cardiac ward for ten days, some of which were in a medically induced coma. John Rooney, the protester involved, was then brought to court, only to have charges against him thrown out.
Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan has also been assigned by his wife to investigate leaks from Gardaí to members of the press. The new wave of political policing is said to be a reaction to the growing support for the Anti-Irish Water Movement. One of the reasons for the growth is the massively successful nationwide boycott of Irish Water. The number of people who refused to pay their first water bill was 57% and the number expected to refuse to pay their second bill is now in the 90% range.
Another reason the movement has developed and has grown so quickly was the decision made by Eurostat to declare Irish Water a state-controlled body after it failed to stand up to testing by the group. In its report Eurostat said:
“In conclusion, and on the basis of the available information, Eurostat considers that Irish Water is a non-market entity controlled by government and should therefore be classified within the government sector.”
In one day the government’s goal to gain access to funding off the state books was pushed further off into the distance. Multiple reasons contributed to the Eurostat decision, including the €100 conservation grant that would be paid to households who register with the utility not only to house holds who pay their bills. Another major reason was state involvement in the appointment of jobs in Irish Water and the propping up of the dying company with money due to spent on much needed public services.
The Irish government were outraged by the findings.
Meanwhile with the general election looming next year and a budget day quickly approaching in October, the failing Fine Gael and Labour government are expected to try to win back confidence with some slight eases in the austerity measures. What they don’t seem to realise is that increasing numbers of protesters are not only fed up with Fine Gael and Labour but are quickly becoming disillusioned by the political structure that seems to be working separately from the will of the people.
Interviews from Saturday’s Irish Water protest in Dublin.