SWP statement: Threats on the water charge
It was only a year ago that Phil Hogan was threatening anyone who refused to pay their water bill. “Water pressure will be turned down ‘to a trickle’ for people who don’t pay.” Phils threats turned out to be empty.
But since last May, when Phil made the above statement, we have seen the biggest mass protests in a generation.
These protests caught the ruling class by surprise and they responded by offering concessions designed to bring people into the system and once in prepare the ground for a future rise in the costs.
The government’s charges only last until the start of 2018 –just over three years. After that they will have to increase.
Just look at the figures. The total revenue that will be raised is just € 90 million a year. But the water metering is continuing and that – according to the Institute of Engineers Ireland – will cost €1billion.
So why are they continuing the metering programme, if the charges will permanently remain at €60 for as single person and €160 for a family? The answer is that they won’t.
Labour Party Minister Alan Kelly knows that a strong boycott campaign, coming as the culmination of many months of mass protests, can sink Irish Water.
That’s why they are trying to scare people again by leaking Cabinet discussions to the media with talk of ‘attachment orders’ and taking cash from welfare and wages. This is nothing but intimidation.
The only way they can get an attachment order is to take you to court- they cannot take 500,000 people to court- it would clog up the entire justice system. Any court date would also provide a focus for mass solidarity protests just like the protests that accompanied court dates in the 1990’s.
The most pathetic aspect of the Government’s plans is to try and turn Landlords into debt collectors for Irish Water by taking tenant’s deposits to pay water bills. This move is opposed even by the Landlords themselves.
Remember- there are no fines for at least a year. We have the largest protest movement in a generation on our side. There is nothing they can do to half a million if we refuse to pay.
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