Drop the prosecutions, scrap the water charges

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy being attacked by police on water charges protest

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy being attacked by police on water charges protest   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Twenty-three of the 40 anti-water charges protesters arrested earlier this year in Ireland are expected to be charged with “false imprisonment” of the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) following a peaceful sit-down protest in Tallaght, Dublin, in November 2014. Those charged include Socialist Party member Paul Murphy TD (MP).

Paul described the decision to charge people with criminal offences as “an attack on the right to protest”.

The ‘false imprisonment’ charge is absurd. Tánaiste Joan Burton was delayed in her car by protesters peacefully blocking the road. The decision of the gardai (police) and the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute is part of vendetta by the political establishment against the organised anti-water charges campaign.

Paul commented: “The whole thing is politically motivated. It was no coincidence that on the day the first arrests were made, all four people arrested were political activists.”

However, despite the use of the heavy hand of the state, figures in July revealed that 57% of householders had refused to pay the hated water charges – an austerity measure demanded by the Troika (EU ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank), who are also bleeding the Greek people white with savage cuts and privatisation policies.

Despite these prosecutions the anti-austerity movement in the Irish Republic, including the water charges non-payment campaign, remains unbowed.