Wednesday 28 September 2016

Thousands take to streets calling for full abolition of water charges

Kevin Kelly

Published 17/09/2016 | 15:13

Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital again today marching for the abolition of water charges.

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Three separate marches began at Connolly Station, Heuston Station and Sir John Rodgerson Quay.

Organisers claimed 80,000 people took to the streets, while other estimates put the crowd at less than 20,000. The gardai estimated less than 10,000 attended.

At Stephen’s Green, the mass of people listened as TDs, MEPs, and members of the public spoke of how they believe the charges have failed.

Protesters gather at Connolly Station
Protesters gather at Connolly Station

Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger said:  “It was never just about water charges.”

“The water charges were a lightning rod for austerity in general, and the last eight years of what working class people have had to put up with.”

The Apple tax case was also talking point during the march - with many insisting that the government should take the €13bn.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett told Independent.ie that “people are absolutely disgusted that a government can say no to €13bn in taxes owed by one of the wealthiest multinationals in the world.”

Demonstrators march along Parliament Street during the Anti Water charges protest in Dublin.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Demonstrators march along Parliament Street during the Anti Water charges protest in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin
Protestors gather on St Stephen's Green during the Anti Water charges protest in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin
Protestors march along Burgh Quay during the Anti Water charges protest in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin
Protestors march over the Matt Talbot Bridge during the Anti Water charges protest in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin
Demonstrators march along Parliament Street during the Anti Water charges protest in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin
Protesters gather at Connolly Station
Protesters gather at Connolly Station

“They [the government] don’t want that, but they expect ordinary people to accept water charges, property taxes, and years of cuts and austerity that have been imposed on them.”

The march was organised by Right2Water and is calling for for the full abolition of the charges, which currently stand suspending pending a review. 

A large crowd gathered at Connolly Station at 2pm to begin the march towards St Stephen’s Green, meeting up with the other demonstrators along the way.

Workers Party councillor Éilis Ryan said:

“People are choosing to put their energies into what the new struggles are”.

“We have a compromise that the government think they’ve arranged in terms of suspending the charges. We all know they’re completely dead.”

“But I think people feel that’s not enough. It’s not suspension we are asking for; it’s abolition we’re asking for.”

A group of demonstrators from the Artbank gallery in Bunclody, Co Wexford brought a large puppet fish and crow to the march to symbolise how they believe Irish people had been preyed upon by the charges.

One man from the group said the government had created a “repression, not recession” since the introduction of the charges.

The controversial charges have been suspended across the country since the start of July.

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