2015 - the year we change Ireland

One year ago politicians were preparing for more meaningless local and European elections, many Unions were still hankering for a renewed social partnership model and the Irish people were still looking like the most abused (yet compliant) citizenry in the European Union. 

One year on, as we enter 2015, much has changed. But has it really? Certainly in communities all across Ireland the anti-water double tax protests have lit a real fire of anger and resistance. People have mobilised their resistance to this measure through solidarity and support and it has been inspirational. This resistance has been given impetus by the 'Says No' movement and, since 11 October three Right2Water events have brought direction and focus to protests that are unprecedented in size and nature for modern Ireland.

Irish Water has gone from being a bullying and complacent quango talking down to people, to being a complete shambles ravaged of any sustainable business model or reason for existence? Well actually no, that isn't true is it? Irish Water's reason to exist is as clear as ever - 1) to double tax us for our water, 2) to install expensive infrastructure at our expense owned by a single utility, and 3) to ultimately charge us extortionate amounts of money for water before being sold to a Denis O'Brien type at the behest of the IMF and/or EU.

So have all the protests really worked? To a point yes. Compared to where we were this time last year we are now positioned perfectly to deliver real change which, possibly for the first time since independence, can help us create a Republic which puts the great mass of the people before it's self serving elites. But how do we achieve that? 

Surely we can only achieve it in the sole way that we can achieve R2W's only objective (to revoke the domestic water charges legislation). We need to elect legislators that enact laws that are wanted and needed by the people they are elected to represent, not Corporations and their cronies whose sole purpose is to screw those very people, the electors, in a profit driven orgy of greed.

Which brings us to 'politicians'. It's justified to hate and distrust politicians. Especially here. Especially in a country where we have 'gombeenism' masquerading as politics for decade after decade, sneering and detesting our own citizens. And that's just the main parties who have been in Government! The opposition too has, too often, focussed on narrow sectarian gain instead of real popular broad reform delivered from the ground up. Such narrowness of focus has killed many protests such as the household charge protests and created deep distrust of ALL politicians. 

So where to now? If we are to elect people who enact the laws we, the people, need in the next election we to continue to unite on what we agree on and not sow division and discord over tactical approaches as some are currently endeavouring to do. We need to grow and develop the unity that has rocked the establishment and the media - not splinter in 100 different directions as Irish people have (to their great cost) many times before thereby allowing an elitist minority to reap and sow at great cost to the common good. It's been the way of it for much too much of our history. Can we unite and through solidarity fundamentally change how our water, our housing, our jobs, our education and our health services are paid for and delivered in all our interests?

Right2Water will continue to be a forum for united protest on water charges and possibly, ultimately, real social change. We will continue to work with people in solidarity and mutual respect. We appeal for all who are really concerned and committed to building a new Ireland to work with us to do so.

Happy New Year, bring it on.......!

Brendan Ogle & David Gibney

Right2Water Organisers