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Citizens won’t settle for less than abolition of Water Tax - Adams

4 November, 2014 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that the Taoiseach has underestimated public anger over water charges.

Speaking in the Dail today Gerry Adams said rumoured Government concessions, such as a flat charge, would not suffice and that those who took to the streets in such large numbers last Saturday would not be satisfied with anything less than the abolition of the Water Tax.

Gerry Adams said:

“Taoiseach, it is clear that you have entirely underestimated the level of public anger at the imposition of domestic Water Charges. You have underestimated the determination in every street, sráidbhaile, and city in every county in this State. And you are ignoring the reality for many, many citizens who simply cannot pay your unfair tax.

“I have to confess at times that I don’t understand your attitude, but then I am reminded of the deferential way you deal with the elites – within the EU or in the Banking fraternity, as opposed to other citizens represented by the 150,000 who took to the streets last Saturday. I am proud to say I marched with them.

“These citizens are sick to the teeth of the relentless austerity and endless list of taxes and charges aimed at those on low and middle incomes which your Government has imposed. For many, the Water Tax is the final straw. Taoiseach, you have dismissed their concerns.

“From the very beginning, the establishment of Irish Water and your effort to impose Water Charges has been a complete fiasco, replete with a bonus culture and reeking of cronyism.

“You are now frantically briefing the media that you will introduce measures to alleviate the burden of Water Charges. But Taoiseach, talk of flat charges, changes to the board of Irish Water or improving your communications strategy all ignore the main point.

“What citizens want from you is a clear statement that you have listened to them, that you understand the message that has been sent and that Water Charges will be abolished.

“Taoiseach, will you today reassure struggling families across the State that you will end your attempt to impose a tax that has clearly been rejected by citizens?”

Mr Adams said that when the Government assumed office three years ago, the Taoiseach spoke loftily of a ‘democratic revolution’, which would sweep away the failed political approaches and attitudes of the past.

He said:

“We all know now that this was merely words without substance. On Saturday, the citizens of this state showed you what a real democratic revolution looks like. The response of your Government to this unprecedented demonstration of public anger will define the remainder of your term in office. In that regard, what you have said here today is deeply disappointing.

“Sinn Féin has shown you how to pay for water services without imposing domestic water charges.

“There is widespread concern that what your Government has being doing from the start, is all about setting up the State’s water services for privatisation. This week, Sinn Féin will week to introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill allowing for a referendum to retain control of water services in public ownership.”

He asked the Taoiseach if, as he claimed, he was against privatising water services, would he support this Sinn Féin Bill. The Taoiseach replied that he would not.

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