Wet But Not Watery

My friend and I got soaked and found ourselves in that paradox of being annoyed but not annoyed. For those who believe in symbolism and that sort of thing, nature, or the heavens if that is your gig, expressed its solidarity with the marchers of Drogheda, by peeling back the clouds above our heads in a clear statement that water is free and it does fall from the skies, contrary to what some fool of a Fine Gael politician recently told us on live television. Whatever it was, It could have rained a few umbrellas down while it was at it, but that would be miraculous rather than natural: things happen but miracles don’t. And it will be a miracle if the rich agree to pay more to alleviate the burden of poverty that so many strain under in Irish society. 

The media estimated the crowd at around 8000 strong, the largest march in Drogheda in living memory. For a town its size, the turnout was massive and reflected the intensity of feeling. When we gathered for Gaza during the summer as Israeli war criminals pounded the besieged Mediterranean coastal strip, murdering children as they slept or played, we were content to get fifty on the streets.

Section of the Drogheda March
Apart from Sinn Fein the political class did not seem represented. Had they been there, we were never going to stay around to listen to them talk the type of stuff that in order to flush down the loo we are now expected to pay for. Having drifted away drenched prior to the end, a woman in a bookshop I called into dismissively commented about whoever was speaking at the time, ‘just somebody looking votes’. People are fed up with career politicians seeking to cash in on misfortune, like clergymen hovering around hospital wards where those about to depart their mortal coil, are considered vulnerable to a bit of salesmanship. Feet on the street not speeches from leeches was why people turned out in such force. Heartening it was to see the platform peppered with a preponderance of community and union activists from Direct Democracy Ireland, Unite and other local campaign groups rather than career politicians.

Today, right across the country, the Right2Water protests were about the eruption of people’s anger at yet another injustice being heaped upon them in order that the wealthy remain protected much more than the less well off from paying for a better society. We did not assemble in the rain to fast track the political careers of people who, if not of the mettle of Clare Daly - she told a Dublin protest today that ‘nothing but full abolition will suffice' - will as assuredly shaft the disadvantaged at the earliest opportunity while boldly praising their own courage for having shown such decisive leadership by ... implementing water charges.

This is an issue that has hurt like few others. The contemptuous audacity with which Irish Water has internalised the culture of Rip Off Ireland by awarding themselves a bonus for shafting society has literally infuriated people who openly defy government with their vow 'we won’t pay'.

Seeing Sinn Fein as another office chasing crew, I pondered on what its troubled  leader might have said had he been in Drogheda today. His only honest response to those shouting would have been 'I will pay.' But honesty not being his forte, we can only speculate on what deception he would have devised for the occasion. Only yesterday he endorsed the Tory austerity draft budget in the North as an example of political leadership rather than the political betrayal it actually was.  Imelda Munster of Sinn Fein did address the crowd. She was an ever present at the 'for Gaza' protests during the summer, which has to count for something. And today she did sign the petition demanding 'the abolition of Irish Water as a private company',  which runs counter to the policy of her party. Yet, it is hard to escape the sense that the party will abolish Imelda before it will abolish Irish Water.

Wet but far from watery, we returned to our homes, determined that being screwed by Irish Water will not be considered water under the bridge.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

11 comments to ''Wet But Not Watery"

  1. SF are way ahead in the latest poll. I get the impression people are so desperate to be rid of the despicable scoundrels in the Dail that they are hoping against hope SF will be different in spite of what they are doing at Stormont.

    All we can hope for is that people take heart from the independents and vote sufficient numbers of them in to make a difference. Couldn't believe Mary Lou up front in Dublin, but there you go. The only positive is that with people like that pushing themselves forward in public life no one needs ever feel ashamed of anything; perhaps that's the real appeal of SF.

    Fantastic turnout across the country and the diversity of the people on TV was great to see. The Labour Party is history and the big two FF/FG will be having to adjust to an end to tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum politics from here on in.

  2. Once again this shows the idiocy of this island.
    You have two camps here.
    Those who say they won't pay.
    and those in the Government who are writing the bills out.
    Now. here's a third way.
    People are paying for their water, whether they realise it or not.
    And no I don't mean through taxes .I mean in the cost of their appliances. Bear with me here.
    I have relatives in the West of Ireland. They live in a hard water area and the water is crap. Comes out of the tap yellow etc.
    AFAIK North Dublin also suffers hard water also.
    Now people pay for this thru Washing machines breaking down and been scrapped. Electric kettles, Central heating boilers and electric showers Immersion heaters ALL giving trouble and expense AND THIS is what I mean about people paying for water.
    If they are clever...They will have shelled out for a water softner. Which I guess costs about 300 bucks or so.This needs salt to work so that must be added weekly. and it must be serviced each year..So this is more expense.
    So, my point is rather than say..NO We are NOT paying..Get the Useless politicians to sort it out and deliver clean soft water which will make life easier and will make all those expensive household appliances Boilers a £3,000 Item..right there. Immersions and Washing machines.
    But of course the a$$hats in Govt are NOT offering this.
    Instead they are offering to charge for rubbish hard water.
    What should have happened is the Govt should NOT spent that money on water meters but should have sent a flat rate bill to every house Whilst at the same time identifying the worst areas in the state for hard water. Then, they should have told people that the money would be invested in these areas to bring water quality up to standard.
    Everybody wins.
    The Government get their money..And by a process of dealing with the worst areas over time the the people get a water that won't feck up their highly expensive boilers and washing machines.
    So why hasn't it been done?
    Why is common sense not common?
    In short the protestors and the Govt are wrong.
    The protestors demand should be NOT that they WON'T pay full stop; but that they won't pay until the authorities roll out a National plan of improvement
    Then and only then, after the water quality is improved should meters have been installed in the areas improved. whilst the areas awaiting water quality improvment will still pay a flat rate.
    Too many whingers not enough thinkers!!!!!

  3. Ozzy it is action we need now the time for thinking is well past,those who need to think about what is happening now are really to far behind to be of any use..

  4. "Until the authorities roll out a National plan of improvement"thats a fucking thinking statement Ozzy ? surely to fuck part of billions collected in taxes and rates was to go into maintaining and improving the infrastructure of the country, what is happening here is a fucking another rip off that Irish con men called govt inflict on the population with ever increasing regularity ..

  5. marty.
    Yes taxes should have been used for that. In fact the government during the Celtic Tiger allowed a property bubble..Then took people OUT of the Tax Net by increasing Personal allowances.
    So.. this situation has been a long time coming.
    The net result is the electricity grid is outdated.
    The trains are running at the same speed as when steam engines were in use.
    They had better roads..but now don't have money to maintain them.
    And the water infastructure is rubbish also.
    Broad band is rubbish.
    And the health service is rubbish.
    All the services are NOT fit for purpose.
    Yet the people want easy answers and vote for the same eejits..time and again.
    And If house prices go up..They'll demand lower taxes to party again.
    Nobody gets up and ask. "what is in the National interest?
    My view is fixing the broadband..getting better railways..a health service etc. is in the national interest.
    Irish people are like everybody wants lower taxes and they want other communities to have their services cut..It doesn't play anymore.
    Ireland is in deep trouble.
    Far bigger than people realise.
    We needed 20 -30 ears of a "celtic tiger " Without the final years of booming houses to fix things. And we blew it. And well pay the price for it.

  6. Ozzy

    "The net result is the electricity grid is outdated.
    The trains are running at the same speed as when steam engines were in use.
    They had better roads..but now don't have money to maintain them.
    And the water infastructure is rubbish also.
    Broad band is rubbish.
    And the health service is rubbish.
    All the services are NOT fit for purpose.
    Yet the people want easy answers and vote for the same eejits..time and again.
    And If house prices go up..They'll demand lower taxes to party again".

    And you want us to join this?

  7. Peter.
    The Brits aren't too far ahead.
    They have better broadband perhaps and the health Service may be "free" at the point of delivery but it is not the great thing that people try and make out.
    Sure I would rather suffer a broken hip in the UK. But for anything Chronic the NHS is very variable in it's outcomes.
    The railways in the UK are pretty rubbish and are even MORE expensive than Ireland.
    And there are water bills in the UK.
    And now people are charged for water going in AND the drains coming out!!!!
    In short.
    I wouldn't ask for a 32 County Free State.
    But rather a 32 County Republic. Something different than what we have now.
    One of the reasons why Ireland is bad is because nobody puts the National interest first..And that's hardly surprising when the whole What is the Nation, question is not agreed.
    It comes back to that.

  8. Ozzy for an outdated electricity service what the fuck are all those norner,s Scotchmen and Poles doing in the border regions these last few years , I wouldnt argue the the electricity infrastructer needs upgraded but in some ways its superior to what we have in the black north ,the main point I would make a cara is that to maintain and improve the infrastructure of the country then those who made the most out of the country pay the most,the recently discovered oil fields off the Cork coast contain the answer to all Irelands current financial diffs if only those bastards in the Dail had the balls to tear up a contract that essentially gives away this resource to a few multi national oil companies ..i would agree that if you elect gangsters your gonna get mugged may just be the wakeup call the people badly need ..Hope so

  9. How come the infrastructure is there already but the never ending increases in taxation and bills foisted on the people cannot keep the infrastructure and services up to speed? More and more financial input, less and less services.

    Doesn't make sense.

  10. Regarding the north.

    Ireland made a pigs arse of its economy through blind greed. But the economy is sufficient to drag the country back up again eventually. How long would the 6 counties stand alone? The snobbery of the penniless sponger society is amazing!!


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