Protesters get under orders to halt water 'Trojan horse'
Published 01/12/2016 | 02:30
Protesters plan to organise a series of marches from February ahead of a Dáil vote on the future of water charges.
TDs who have been to the forefront of protests since the introduction of charges say they intend to mobilise again, despite the Expert Commission recommending that the majority of households will pay nothing.
Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said that the political pillar of the Right To Water movement is already preparing for a new campaign to stop what she called a "Trojan horse to bring water charges back".
"There will be serious moves to organise big demonstrations in the new year, probably in February. The committee is due to report back around March so we'll be mobilising before that," she said.
The Dublin South Central TD said a protest march in September had attracted 40,000 even though they hadn't put huge efforts into promoting it. "It was quite astonishing. I think that'll happen again," she said.
Richard Boyd Barrett noted that the commission found Ireland "does not have a problem of excessive household usage".
"In fact, we use 20pc less water per household than Britain does, which has had charges and meters for many years.
"There is therefore no excuse or justification on the basis of water conservation for water charges," he said.
The deputy argued that if the Government was serious about conservation, they would introduce incentives for people who install water-saving devices.
"The Government is spoofing when it argues that it wants water conservation. It actually wants to impose a regressive and unfair tax on householders and the people will not be conned."
Dublin South West TD Paul Murphy said the report was a "fudge to allow Fine Gael to claim water charges are still in place and for Fianna Fáil to say that water charges are gone".