Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 February 2015

Irish government unleashes "dogs of war" against anti-water charges movement

Protesting against the arrests of anti-water tax campaigners

Protesting against the arrests of anti-water tax campaigners   (Click to enlarge)

Cillian Gillespie and Mick Barry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland)

"Call off the dogs of war on people in Jobstown." These were the words of Socialist Party TD (member of parliament) Ruth Coppinger when she challenged the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Joan Burton in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on 12 February. She was speaking against the shameful political policing that has resulted, at the time of writing, in the arrests of 23 anti-water charges activists and protesters in Dublin.

Gardaí (police) have mounted dawn raids on homes arresting the 23 for participating in a protest against Burton herself in the working class community of Jobstown in November. During the protest her ministerial Mercedes was impeded for two hours as the protesters staged a peaceful sit-down protest in front of it. For doing so, those who have been arrested face potential charges of unlawful imprisonment of Joan Burton!

Mass movement

Each day we have woken to hear of fresh arrests, with some newspapers reporting (no doubt having been tipped off by the Gardaí) that the number of those arrested is likely to rise to 40 people. This is an attack on the mass movement of working class people against water charges which, after six years of brutal austerity in Ireland, has been active since last September.

It is also an attack on the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), which includes the Socialist Party and has been to the forefront of the battle against this austerity tax. Among the first group of four to be arrested on 9 February were Socialist Party members AAA TD Paul Murphy and AAA councillors Mick Murphy and Kieran Mahon.

Incredibly, six Gardaí called to Paul's home before 7am and brought him to the local Garda station where he was questioned for eight hours. An enormous amount of Garda resources have gone into the arrests that have taken place, for example eight and ten Gardaí were deployed to arrest two teenagers aged 14 and 16 years old.

Political policing

Did government ministers put pressure on the Gardaí to take these actions? Did they give them the green light? It is entirely possible that they did. But even if they did not, the Garda action is still political in its essence. The Garda commissioner is appointed by the government and both government and Gardaí defend the same capitalist establishment shaken by the power and the scope of the anti-water charges movement.

The role of the Gardaí as enforcers for Irish Water, water metering and the hated water charges has torn the veil of Garda 'impartiality' from the eyes of many in recent months.

The Socialist Party demands that this political policing be ended. The Gardaí should have no role to play in policing community campaigns and struggles by working class people. Democratic control of the Gardaí by working class communities is needed as an alternative to being run as a centralised force led by a government-appointed commissioner.

This political attack will be fought until the case is dropped or the charges defeated. Of course, the attack will be fought using legal weaponry - the weak case of the establishment will be subjected to the strongest legal scrutiny and exposure.

But first and foremost, a political attack must be fought politically. A good first step has been the exposing of the hypocrisy of these charges by the AAA and other left TDs. Protests have been organised against political policing. Over 600 attended a protest, called at relatively short notice, outside the Department of Justice the day Ruth challenged Joan Burton in the Dáil and a similar number protested in Tallaght two days later.

The questions asked by the TDs have weakened the Garda case: Why is a working class community being penalised for actions similar to those taken in the past, for example by students, without penalty? Why are such huge Garda resources being put into this case when real crime affecting communities goes unpunished due to scant Garda resources?

The anti-water charges movement has clearly shaken the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government and the capitalist establishment generally. A series of mass national demonstrations have seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets and thousands of working class people have been activated in opposition to the charge and to the installation of water metres.

The number of local campaigns that have sprung up is illustrated by the fact that there are approximately 350 Facebook pages of different local campaigns across the country. The scale and size of the movement forced the government to make a number of concessions before Christmas, including the water charges being introduced at a smaller flat rate charge until 2019 and also that the water pressure of non-payers could not be turned down.

Nearly half of those who were liable to do so did not register with Irish Water (the company set up to administer the water charge) by the time of the deadline of 2 February. Polls have consistently shown that one-third of the population will not pay the water charge.

We Won't Pay

In the coming months the AAA and the We Won't Pay campaign will be seeking to build a campaign of mass non-payment to ensure a majority of householders don't pay the water charges bills that arrive in April and May.

The anti-water charges movement needs to link the defensive battle against the arrests in Jobstown by the state with an offensive one that organises non-payment. We can sink Irish Water and in doing so bring down this austerity government.

The Socialist Party and AAA will be energetically building a campaign to defeat water charges in the coming weeks and months. We also want to build a mass party of the left that can be a real alternative to all the main parties of Ireland's capitalist class. An active movement of working class people that is based on non-payment of the water charges can lay the real basis for the building of such a party.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 18 February 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Workers' pay down £2,500... Bosses' pay up £700,000

HSBC tax dodging scandal

How the super-rich get away with it

Them & Us

Socialist Party congress

Preparing the forces to fight capitalist austerity

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: If the Troika does not back down?

"Dogs of war" unleashed against water tax movement

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

"Vote for hope and an alternative"

"I want to tell the truth about the crime of austerity"

Socialist Party election appeal

Socialist Party workplace news

Support the firefighters

Lewisham: striking against 'academisation'

London bus strike suspended - prepare for more action

Protest wins reinstatement of Crossrail worker

Tories' probation disaster

Fighting for a £10 minimum wage

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fighting racism with Solidarity Street

Labour council to deal 'savage blow' to Coventry

Campaign news in brief

May Day greetings with the Socialist

Socialist Party comments and reviews

"Driver, why are you late?"

Decades of disastrous and bloody interventions

Shallow look at racist far right

Individual registration excludes voters...


Home   |   The Socialist 18 February 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleBritain's fragile Covid equilibrium is coming to an end

triangleIreland: Debenham's occupier speaks out

triangleIreland: Debenham's workers occupy stores

triangleDebenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies

triangleCovid pandemic and Northern Ireland - workers must resist the bosses' offensive


triangleWater shortage warning: nationalise now!

triangleGoing viral: Socialist comments and letters

triangleCuts and climate change cause floods

triangleMajor funding for flood risk management needed


triangleCovid-19 pandemic increases financial pressures on Welsh local government

triangleU-turn Tories' splits are growing

triangleUnder the microscope

Working class:

triangleDover: Solidarity with refugees - applause and cheers for socialist ideas to unite working class

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The role of the working class in the struggle for socialism

Socialist Party:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Tories in Crisis


triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?


triangleProtesting is not terrorism


triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

Ruth Coppinger:

triangleSolidarity with Irish rape trial protests

Paul Murphy:

triangleThe ongoing capitalist crisis and the struggle for a socialist world





Egypt: Support for al-Sisi dwindles as his regime increases repression



Nigerian police repress peaceful anti-government protest



Belarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime



Strike wave marks new stage in revival of Iranian workers' movement



Mass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation



Revolutionary mood in Lebanon following horrific explosion



Mass protests and strikes rock Belarus



New book: Leon Trotsky - A Revolutionary Whose Ideas Couldn't Be Killed



Revolutionary mood in Lebanon following horrific explosion



Cuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo


Nuclear weapons

Anniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki



Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes



Israel: Nurses strike and win


Hong Kong

Hong Kong: The fight for democratic rights


South Africa

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020