On December 10th I along with tens of thousands of ordinary Irish people took part in the 'No to Water Charges' protest in Dublin. It was a joy to be part of a mass demonstration of people of all ages that was more than just about the imposition of another stealth tax. Rather it represented the last straw for citizens throughout Ireland who they have finally said "Enough is Enough”.
The last two governments have implemented a string of austerity cuts to pay for the gambling debts of greedy anti-patriotic bankers and property speculators. Yet those who have bankrupt the country are allowed to get off scot free for committing the biggest crime in the history of the Irish state whilst hundreds of thousands of Irish men and women have as a result lost their jobs, their homes or have emigrated. The fabric of many families were torn apart. For some individuals it was too much to bear and they took their lives.
But the people protesting have not forgotten or forgiven those who are responsible for their pain.
It was very noticeable that coverage by the mainstream print and television media of the huge protest deliberately avoided any mention of the anger directed by demonstrators towards tax exile Denis O'Brien, the man whom the tax-payer funded (€200millions) Moriarty Tribunal found had undermined the Irish body politic. Yet it is he who owns the company that won the contract to install meters for Irish Water!
It is obvious then that because of his omnipotent power (in Newstalk, Today FM. Irish Independent, Topaz...) and his payments to politicians and political parties, the media, Fianna Fáil and the government are too afraid to condemn him. Like Voldemort in Harry Potter, he is the man Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
The Irresponsible Few
However one noticeably dark element of the protest was the actions of a very tiny number of idiots who later on blocked O’Connell Street Bridge for hours thus inconveniencing many people working in the city and stopping thousands of protestors from leaving Dublin to get home to Galway, Waterford, Sligo and elsewhere. I myself went over to talk to them, pointed out that I too was a protestor and wished like many others to get on buses that could not move because of their actions.. A few of them gave me a tirade of abuse and threatened to physically assault me. It was obvious that all they were looking for was a confrontation with the police, which would have only damaged the No to Water Charges campaign and undermined all the positivity of the protest.