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Water protests: Will next week see a high water mark of anger?


Huge crowds take to the streets of Dublin and all around Ireland on a national day of protest against the water charges. Picture shows protesters on the streets of Dublin

Huge crowds take to the streets of Dublin and all around Ireland on a national day of protest against the water charges. Picture shows protesters on the streets of Dublin

Paul Murphy

Paul Murphy


Huge crowds take to the streets of Dublin and all around Ireland on a national day of protest against the water charges. Picture shows protesters on the streets of Dublin

December 10 will tell a tale. Next Wednesday, prime movers behind the campaign against water charges promise to mobilise the biggest demonstration yet against this hapless Government.

Their aim is nothing less than overturning the mandate Enda Kenny won at the ballot box in 2011, by tapping into a tide of revolt on the streets.

Nobody loves this Coalition, but most of us voted for Fine Gael and Labour in 2011.

Next week, that majority will speak by either putting on the Wellington boots, staying at work, or by going Christmas shopping.

The main agitators are Sinn Fein and the radical Left. These self-serving champions of the public good are now bitter rivals. They both seek exclusive rights for the wrath of the people.

Next week, they will put away the hammers and sickles and combine to stir us up into a heightened sense of collective grievance.

Together they dream of unleashing the biggest expression of public anger since the tax marches of the late '70s and early '80s.

This time, the issue happens to be water and the clever catch-cry is "water is a human right".

Next Christmas, for all we know, the human rights issue could be that grasping capitalist Santa Claus. Don't rule out a heart-breaking Lefty demand for a free gift of choice for every child in the country.

Surely only those heartless Scrooges in government would oppose such a progressive move?

Ultimately, however, the issue itself is not the most important thing. Power is all that matters to the ideologues who promise us the Earth.

The Sinn Fein-Trotskyite aim is to drive us into such a state of frenzy next week that the Coalition will crumple and quit the field of battle.


On past form you wouldn't bet against this demoralised Cabinet throwing in the towel. But turnout is key to the fate of our political masters.

Anything less than 200,000 stomping pairs of feet on the move across the country next Wednesday will be seen as a serious setback for the offensive against Labour and Fine Gael.

For the boys of the old brigade, led by Gerry Adams, and the angry brigade, led by Paul Murphy, public fury is good for business.

These grim radicals take their cue from Lenin's old maxim: "worse is better". Their catchy slogan: "Can't pay won't pay" would bring a wintry smile of approval from that ruthless old Bolshevik.

Sinn Fein and the hard Left despise each other but they will band together for a big push next week. They sense victory but need to sustain momentum. They know Enda Kenny is buckling under pressure.

One last big shove, Adams and the Trots believe could sweep him and his Cabinet away. But to do that they need to get out the masses in huge numbers.

That might not be as easy as it seems. The water charge protests have submerged Kenny but he's still afloat. Just about. To finish him and his administration off, the Opposition need to keep stoking the fire of popular discontent.

Any fall-off in numbers will deflate the fellow travellers and drain the impetus for change. Any surge in the scale of protest may force the hand of those in Fine Gael who want to see the back of the Taoiseach.

But this is Christmas time. People have lives to lead. Some of us even have money to spend.

Maybe all that hassle over water is sorted now? Is it?

All year the Coalition parties have been on the back foot as public hostility to everything they say and do has risen to boiling point.

Now besieged ministers hope the recently reduced water levies will release the dangerous head of steam that has already badly scalded their parties.

700,000 citizens have not registered for Irish Water. We've heard a lot from that quarter. But nearly a million customers have.

This is the silent majority who will resent paying for the principles of a vocal minority. Whose side are they on?

After the nasty Jobstown affray will tens of thousands of decent people march to the tune of Paul Murphy and his merry comrades?

Tanaiste Joan Burton's ordeal was not a manly sight.

For men and women prepared to pay a lot more on a seasonal shopping spree than for a year's supply of water was the treatment of the Tanaiste a reality check?

This week, another search started in a bog for another man murdered and maligned by the IRA.


This week Mairia Cahill's plight continues to cast a long dark shadow over Sinn Fein.

Gerry Adams is now forever tainted by her claims that the IRA enabled perverts to go free.

Are hundreds of thousands of us willing to march in step with this man and this party over the issue of water and ignore the ocean of blood Sinn Fein is spattered with?

Back in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas pondered on the question of 'anger'. He warned that it was a passion that could lead to evil if it was "not regulated by reason".

Next week, the anger mongers will be out in force. Will they get many takers? The numbers will tell the tale.