Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/845/20165
Ireland: five anti-water charges protesters jailed
Last week the Socialist reported on arrests of anti-water charges protesters in Ireland for 'false imprisonment' of the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) by a sit-down protest in Tallaght, Dublin, in November. Those arrests, which have included Socialist Party members Paul Murphy TD (MP) and others, are continuing.
Now, for breaking an injunction compelling them to stay 20 metres away from all water meter installations, five protesters have been jailed for between 28 and 56 days each. Reports suggest that three of those jailed are being held in solitary cells for 23 hours a day and have now begun a hunger strike.
On 21 February 10,000 marched in Dublin against the jailings. Here we print an edited version of Paul Murphy's speech at the demonstration.
"They're jailing our people because they stood beside a water meter. They're arresting people every morning in Tallaght because they sat behind the Tánaiste's car. They're demonising, and criminalising, and shaming our protesters just for being protesters.
This is war. It's class war to impose water charges and austerity.
We're going to win. We're going to win because of working class people power, self-organisation, mobilisation - like today.
We do not live - that's clear to people - in a genuinely free or democratic society. We live in a society where the media, the guards, the courts, are all used to protect the interests of the rich and the powerful against the rest. That's the case right now, but it's been the case since the very foundation of this state.
Look at the Rossport Five, jailed for standing up to Shell. Look at Margaretta D'Arcy, jailed for standing up to the US war machine. Look at the bin charges protesters. Look at all those injuncted and jailed workers in the past for standing up to employers.
None of that is new. But what's new is that people across the country, they see it.
To win we have to mobilise all of that energy, all of that anger, all of that outrage, and then we have to focus it.
We need to keep our eye on the prize. This is happening because we're about to defeat water charges. We need to mobilise all of ourselves to convince the people in the middle not to pay. Mass non-payment will sink Irish water, will sink water charges.
But then the last point - we know, they know, everybody knows, this is no longer just about the water charges. This is about who rules in Irish society. It's about the possibility of a massive, left movement in this country for an economic and political revolution. It's about the possibility of ending the rule of the bankers and bondholders.
It's about the possibility of fundamental and socialist change and about bringing about, for the first time in this state - together with our brothers and sisters across Europe - the rule of the majority, the rule of the 99%. We can do it. It starts now, with getting the release of our comrades, with stopping water charges, with bringing down the government."
In The Socialist 25 February 2015:
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