Éirígí For A New Republic spokesperson Damien Farrell has responded to the latest threat to introduce an ‘excessive usage charge’ for water in the Twenty-Six Counties. Speaking from Dublin’s South West Inner City he said,
“Éirígí has been actively campaigning against the introduction of the Water Tax since 2012. We’re opposed to the introduction of any form of meter-based or stand alone water charge or water tax because we know that it will pave the way for the eventual privatisation of our water resources and water services.
Those who deny that privatisation is the logical end destination are either liars or fools. They are denying the reality of what has happened to virtually every other Irish natural resource and many of our public services. They are also denying the reality of what has happened to water services and resources across Europe and the neo-liberal ideology that underpins the EU and the economic model in this country.
The introduction of a meter-based excessive water charge will effectively commodify domestic water use. Over time it is inevitable that the ‘free’ allocation will be reduced and the penalty for excessive use will be increased. And come the next, inevitable, economic crash we will be told that privatisation is unavoidable.
This is a text book case of the shock doctrine in action. The light lifting is being done now, during a period of apparent economic growth, to prepare the ground for the heavy lifting that will be done during the next crash.
The so-called excessive water charges is a transparent attempt by Fine Gael to sneak in the Water Tax by the back door because they failed to get it through the front door.
During the campaign that successfully defeated the last attempt to introduce a Water Tax Éirígí correctly identified the need for a multi-pronged campaign, incorporating a payments boycott, public protests and the non-violent disruption of water meter installation.
Our activists were to the fore of all three aspects of that campaign. I myself was arrested on several occasions during the non-violent disruption of meter installations . Other party members were arrested and charged with spurious offences including Scott Masterson who successfully defeated an attempt by the state to convict him of kidnapping Joan Burton.
In the face of a new ‘excessive water charge’ we are again calling for a flexible, multi-pronged and imaginative campaign of resistance. Our activists will not be found wanting in such a campaign.”