by Jamison Maeda
After two massive protests against water charges and water privatisation, Ireland is gearing up for possibly the largest public protest in our history this Wednesday on International Human Rights Day. In the last two months, Right2Water protests were attended by as many
as two hundred thousand people in cities and villages across the country along with solidarity protests in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
Today, a delegation from The Detroit Water Brigade arrived in Dublin to stand in solidarity with Ireland and people around the globe who are fighting for strong public water systems and water accessibility. The Detroit Water Brigade provides bottled water, water coolers, rainwater catchment barrels, and water filters, to people in need. They will be visiting residents across Ireland who have been fighting against the installation of water meters
Over the summer the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department shut off water for over 3,000 household each week due to residents being behind on payments. And though half of Detroit’s residents live below the poverty line, the Detroit city council recently approved a significant increase in water charges, making a total increase of 119% over the last 10 years. The water charges in Detroit are nearly double the US national average.
“To take water away from those who cannot afford it by handing it to a private, for-profit company isn’t just irresponsible — it’s genocidal.” Says Detroit Water Brigade’s Political Director. “We know that from firsthand experience here in Detroit and we can’t allow it to happen to Ireland.”
Since protests began the Irish government has completely lost the trust of the people. It is now obvious that the government are not listening to the people who they claim to represent, and the dogs on the street know that the people are fed up. What will it take to convince the government that access to water is a human right and not a revenue stream for bailing out big banks? How many times must we say that we demand water charges abolished before they will abolish them? And how many hundreds of thousands of people marching to the Dáil will it take to convince them that water charges will not be accepted that people know full well that they already pay for their water. The world is about to find out.
The peaceful protest against water charges on Wednesday, 10 December will begin at 1pm at Leinster House, Merrion Square. Solidarity protests will also take place outside Belfast City Hall, and in London outside of the Irish Embassy.
Céad míle fáilte to the delegates of the Detroit Water Brigade.