In spite of everything that has been happening I am impressed that the most recent actions in the government’s programme of austerity haven’t led to violent clashes on the streets. So far the Gardaí have employed riot units and dogs against anti-austerity marches with families and children, they have gotten heavy handed on a number of occasions, and a number of anti-austerity protesters have been sentenced to terms in imprisonment for non-violently resisting the installation of water meters. That the protest movement has not produced a violent response is very much to its credit. The more affluent areas of the city now have their water meters, and the people of those areas are up in arms that the lower orders are resisting this taxation; why should they pay, they ask, when the plebs won’t. Middle class comment in the media continues to demonise and humiliate the layabouts it sees face-to-face with the police on their television sets. Of course there are a few differences. The middle class is heavily invested in Irish Water. After all, it is about the only private company in Ireland that promises to make money in the near future. Water rates will be such a small proportion of their wealth.


On the other side of the equation, the profits made by Irish Water will be from the poorest people in Ireland – a continuation of the transfer of wealth in this country from the bottom to the top. Paying a double taxation at the bottom of the social heap will put families at greater risk. Already there are families all over Dublin who are struggling to cover the cost of essentials. More people are facing homelessness. Unemployment is still rising. Wages are falling. So many people have hit the point now where no more money can be paid out, and the government thinks that the presence of the police on the streets will make this transfer of wealth possible. We have long since passed the point where we can consider this taxation a just financial policy. It is nothing more than a theft from the poor to bail out the rich and the powerful. It may indeed be legal to obey the law, but it is no longer moral. The only moral course of action available to the people of Ireland is to break this law – or at least ignore it. What about the poor workers employed by Irish Water? What about them?

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