In court next week for protesting against water meter installations

I and two other anti-water charges activists from Cobh, Karen D and Vincent C, have received a summons to appear at Midleton courthouse on Thursday 17 December in relation to our arrest on 30 October last year at a protest against the installation of water meters in Cobh. The formal charge is that we: “did obstruct the exercise of a water services authority, to wit, Uisce Eireann, of powers vested in it by virtue of the Water Services Act, 2007. Contrary to Section 12(1)(a) of the Water Services Act 2007 and Section 8(4) of the Water Services Act 2007.”

We will be exploring all possible legal avenues, but it is important to recognise that this is primarily a political issue that touches the very core of how our society is run.

These charges are only one example of increasing state repression against the anti-water charges movement as the government tries to deal with the fact that over half of water bills have still not been paid. Others are the very serious charges against the Jobstown protesters, along with continued arrests of activists in communities all over the country, and the setting up of special garda units focusing on the protests against meter installations.

Cobh is being targeted because we were particularly successful in resisting attempts to install water meters in the town. These court proceedings could be a precursor to Irish Water attempting to return to Cobh and are intended to scare the community away from offering any resistance. On the contrary, our arrests last year helped to deepen the level of organised opposition to meter installations in Cobh and I am confident that these court cases, and even any convictions, will have the same effect.

The government know that their propaganda offensive is not working and now must resort to the iron fist that lies behind the rule of capital. This is a sign of political weakness. They fear that the beginnings of working class self-organisation we have seen in the anti-water charges movement, particularly in communities organising against meter installations, may become generalised as a way of responding to the continuing attacks on working people that used to be called “austerity” but are now happening in the name of “recovery”.

Even more they fear that some of those activists will draw the political conclusion that capitalism as a system is the problem and will start to discuss, debate and organise towards the creation of a political party that bases itself not on the shell-game of parliamentary politics but on strengthening and deepening, in both word and deed, those green shoots of working class organisation. This is what we need – a revolutionary Marxist party committed to the overthrow of the long-rotten capitalist system.


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