Impressions from the 11 Oct anti-water charges protest in Dublin


This view gives something of an idea of the size of the demonstration which while very hard to count must have been close to, or even over, 100,000 (equivalent social weight to 1,000,000 in London).

I traveled up to the protest on a coach organised in the name of Right2Water Cork but in reality by Jim O’Connell of the SWP – well done Jim. The coach picked up 17 of us from Cobh and we marched with others from Cork:


A better impression of the size of the protest and its noisy militant nature is given in this video (credit to the National Citizens Movement). If you can imagine standing in this spot for well over an hour to see the whole demonstration then you would get some idea of the size.

At around 4 minutes in this video you will see the Ballyphehane banner and just behind/to the side of it, and not so easily seen, the Cobh banner. I am on the megaphone leading the Hey Joan Where’s Your Phone chant. For people outside Ireland this is in relation to Labour Party leader Joan Burton’s comments about the anti-water charges protesters using “extremely expensive” phones to video our protests – particularly those involving heavy-handed interventions on the side of Irish Water by the Gardai http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/tanaiste-water-charge-protesters-seem-to-have-extremely-expensive-phones-644730.html

Luckily this is a blog rather than a vlog as my voice is pretty much gone after nearly two hours constant leading of chants along with Jim on the other Cork megaphone. Some other ones popular in our section of the march being “Here’s Joan – hide your phone”, “No Way – We Won’t Pay”, “Stand up and fight – Water is a human right”, “Ole, Ole, Ole – No way, we won’t pay” and my personal favourite “You can shove your water meters up your arse – Up Your Arse, You can shove your water meters up your arse – Up Your Arse, You can shove your water meters, shove your water meters, shove your water meters up your arse – Up Your Arse!” (as sung on the main stage at the end – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COZ7j0LJ3F0)

Like a number of other activists from the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT) that I met on the protest I was very pleasantly surprised by the massive turn-out. I had been thinking that it would be more in the low tens of thousands like the larger CAHWT protests had been. But it is clear that the opposition to the anti-water charges is mobilising much larger numbers of people. This is evidenced not only by this huge turn-out but in the success campaigns around the country have been having in getting local community groups set-up with the tactic of holding street meetings in estates and local areas being very successful.

This is certainly true in Cobh where there have been these meetings virtually every night (including one on Friday night for the 4 streets in my immediate local area) over the last two weeks since the Irish Water application packs started arriving in the town – something we never managed to achieve during the CAHWT despite having a very well organised local campaign group in Cobh. I got another small indication of this depth of feeling this morning out walking our dog and coming back down French’s Avenue to see  at least 7 houses with anti-water charges posters in addition to those that have been in the window of my fellow Cobh Says No activist Con Brierley, for the last couple of years.

Irish Water are due to start installing water meters in Cobh on Monday morning in a couple of estates so it looks like it will be an early start for me with a couple of hours protesting before work…




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