Ireland: Tens of thousands protest water charges

September 23, 2016

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Dublin on September 17 in a national demonstration against water charges, Morning Star said on September 19.

The protest, organised by Right2Water, demanded a referendum to enshrine ownership of water in the hands of the Irish public, chanting: “Enda Kenny, not a penny” and “No way, we won’t pay.”

Legislation to allow suspension of water charges for nine months was passed in June. The deal agreed by the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil ruling coalition parties in May recommended that the Irish Water facility be retained and an external advisory board set up on a statutory basis to look at its operations.

However, Right2Water has said that it has no faith in an expert panel set up by government to examine water charges.

Right2Water co-ordinator David Gibney said that people were frustrated that “70 per cent of TDs who were returned to the Dáil [Ireland’s parliament] this time around are against water charges, yet Fine Gael and the government have managed to prolong the debate.”

A motion has been moved by Irish republican party Sinn Féin in the Dáil to abolish the water charges. However, Fianna Fáil, which has an official policy of abolishing water charges, said on September 19 it would vote against the motion.

Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said: "Last week they were for abolition, but this week they have publicly stated that they will vote against a motion to abolish when it comes before the Dáil next week.

"What part of the Sinn Féin motion does Fianna Fáil disagree with?

"The real issue here is that Fianna Fáil are not actually in favour of abolition. It was just something that sounded good to their PR people last week.

"Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted on water charges or anything else."

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