Ard Fheis 2015- Water Charges- Lynn Boylan MEP

6 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

The people of Ireland will soon be faced with a choice. A choice about the type of society you want to live in.

A choice between a society that protects its most vulnerable or one that asks the most vulnerable to carry the can for the reckless decisions of property developers, bankers and corrupt politicians by taxing the family home to the brink.

For the last four years, in budget after budget they systematically targeted those who could afford it least and took our public services apart brick by brick. And unlike the new Greek government, they failed to stand up for this country’s interests in Europe; they failed to negotiate on bank debt or to even ask for the retrospective recapitalisation of the banks. Ordinary families are paying the price for their failures.

As a struggling family, maybe one of the 30% that has been forced into deprivation under this government or struggling to keep a roof over your head, do you really want to return a government that lets the banks call the shots on mortgage arrears and has sat on its hands for four years while a family a day is becoming homeless?  A government that has introduced a property tax and is now trying to get you to pay for water a 3rd time?

Fine Gael and Labour's regressive taxes attack the family home, homes that have borne the brunt of savage austerity. Water charges are the ultimate insult from this government; from their comical mishandling of even how much they would charge, to the revelations that Irish Water has no intention of fixing any leaking pipes for years to come.

Water charges are the same as this government; nothing but an unfair, unjust, and unwanted imposition on the people of Ireland.

The behaviour of the government towards those who would engage in protest is equally unjust. Jailing protesters is little but fear mongering; a clear message from this government that dissent will not be tolerated. They should be the ones who fear, fear us and all like us who will stand up and rail against these injustices.

These protests are about building broad base support for an alternative narrative to this government. It is not about alienating citizens or creating divides that will be seized upon by the powers that be.

For the first time in the history of the state, the people of Ireland can elect a government that breaks the right-wing civil war politics of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

You can elect a Sinn Féin government that will put equality and fairness at the heart of its policies.  A government that instead of protecting the top 10% of earners would instead insist they pay their fair share.

Sinn Féin stopped the imposition of water charges in the North and in government we will scrap them in this state.

A different Ireland is possible, it is within our grasp.  Let’s take the opportunity to kick Fine Gael and Labour out of office and to deliver a fair recovery.