Popular pressure has finally broken through a media inspired defence of water charges.
Two weeks ago, Fine Gael TDs voted unanimously that Irish Water and water charges were a red line issue in any negotiations with Fianna Fail. Their wealthy voters, who despise the refusal of working class communities to pay water charged, were to be defended at all costs. But now the true blue conservatives are eating their words.
In a possible deal with Fianna Fail, they have already conceded that water charges will be suspended. A so called ‘independent’ Commission will then examine the issue. And after nine months, it will come back to the Dail for a vote.
This massive retreat has occurred because of the power of the Right2 Water movement. Fianna Fail, who originally agreed to water charges, did an about turn and promised to abolish them. They were terrified that they would be overtaken by Sinn Fein and the radical left and so adopted a new posture.
The politicisation of working class communities also meant that it had become too dangerous to drop promises once you are elected. Too many people were sickened by the infamous remarks of the former Labour TD, Pat Rabb-tte, that promises are items spun out before an election – and broken afterwards.
This pressure has also forced Fianna Fail to allow a debate on the issue in the Dail today.
For weeks, they colluded with Fine Gael behind the scenes to prevent such a debate. But as pressure mounted about the blatant lack of democracy, they backed down – ever so slightly.
The debate that starts in the Dail this morning will not be followed by a simple vote. 39 TDs have put down a resolution to fully abolish the charges – but they will not be allowed to vote on it.
This is an outrage. Why has €2 million of taxpayer’s money been spent on sending TDs to the Dail – who are then not allowed to vote on the mandate they were given by electors?
In the dying days of the last Dail, TDs voted through a vicious measure that allowed for water charges to be collected through orders for attachments of earnings. This set a precedent for how state power could be used to gather the bills for non-state companies.
Water charges were only imposed on people because TDs voted for it. So why are a new crop of TDs not allowed to vote them out?
What is the point waiting around for a year while a commission wastes more money debating the issue.
That is why People Before Profit say: Make the TDs do their job. Vote NOW to abolish the charges. We don’t want more talk – we want them abolished.
WATER CHARGES ‘SUSPENDED’ – BUT WHY NOT JUST VOTE THEM OUT?
Fine Gael have suffered a major defeat. Two weeks ago, water charges was a ‘ red line’ issue but now they have conceded that they will be suspended.
The Right2Water movement forced Fianna Fail to raise slogans like ‘abolish water charges’. They can no longer go back on election promises so easily. They know that Sinn Fein and the radical left would lambast them in the Dail – hence their backroom deal.
But why all costly face-saving about a commission. 39 TDs have put down a resolution to abolish water charges. But are they not being allowed vote on the issue today.
Let’s have more democracy and end water charges. We are after all supposed to be in a new era of ‘Dail reform’.