I didn’t really feel like I should comment about Irish Water. Since I’ve left Ireland, many people back in Ireland chastise me if I comment on anything to do with Ireland. It’s not something that started to happen a few years after I left. It started to happen two weeks after I left. But since this is my blog and I can post whatever the fuck I want. I will choose to comment on Irish water today. Before I get into it, please view this video made by some great musicians in a pub about half a mile from where I grew up. It would be amazing if this went viral and I feel that it deserves to, if you like it, share it on Facebook, Twitter or what have you!?!:
It was frustrating before I left Ireland. I felt that corruption was so widespread and the honest few left were the ones who suffered most. I couldn’t understand why people were not rising up against the corruption. We saw some uprising when the government tried to cut benefits and funding for the disabled and they quickly reversed that decision. The students had multiple protests against cuts to their benefits too. But in a country in which Middle Income earners can expect to pay well over 30% of income tax on their earnings, 21% VAT (Sales Tax) and in some cases upwards of 500 tax for their cars, it just seemed crazy. These people who have been raked over the coals for years were being forced to pay for the debts of the top earners in the country when the economy collapsed.
The Irish make up about 1% of the EU. The Irish are now paying about 42% of the collective debt of the Union. We were sold down the river, with such a small population and the huge emigration rates, we won’t pay off that debt for generations to come. We have Universities and Colleges which are being run by an old boys club, by chancers who are lining their pockets and producing absolute shite. It just so happens that many of those in power are former teachers and lecturers! And get this, those people get two state pensions!!! Legislation is constantly being passed which hurts consumers for the benefit of the Vinters association (pub owners)…many politicians also own pubs. Coincidence?
Our Health Care system is beyond fucked up. I personally witnessed a young man bleed out and die whilst waiting in the Emergency Room. Consultants get paid 200k+ a year and do the smallest amount of work. Junior Doctors and Nurses do most of the work, work 36+ hour shifts and get paid jack shit. Most of the hospitals are un-hygenic shit holes. If you don’t die from the procedure, you’ll probably die from the MRSA, you get. Public Transportation outside of Dublin is an abomination. Our national broadcasting companies are propaganda mills. We’re the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Europe and the quality of our Internet services is dire and is controlled by one private company, a private company that was floated on the stock exchange during the boom times, with the government advising the citizens to invest in it!! A company that continues to hinder progress with our internet service and continues to restrict an open internet. We, The Irish should have put our foots down a long time ago and because we didn’t, we’ve caused unspeakable harm which will impact us for many, many years to come.
Back in 2007 legislation was passed on the QT. It planted the seeds for future water charges but it was done in such a low key way that nobody noticed. Now, this was when the last shower of bastards were still in power (Finna Fail, mentioned in the song). When people realized that those cunts sold us out and allowed us to carry the debt for the entire EU they got booted out and replaced with Fine Gael. At first the Fine Gale brass made some small gestures which made them seem like a breath of fresh air. For example, the leader, Enda Kenny made a statement basically telling the then Pope (Benedict) to fuck off, that the church does not lead the nation. A very, very important statement considering the hold the Church had on us. They also piled into a mini-bus to go official functions rather than taking limos…a nice little nod that they would tighten their own purse strings and it wouldn’t just be the regular Irish citizens making sacrifices
That quickly started to unravel. It was reported that they were ordering a brand new line of Audis for Ministers. The Leader gave his assistant a 30k euro a year raise and many, many more stories of him doing favors started to creep out. Pay cuts across the government were not widespread or significant. The former leader of the country before him (Brian Cowen), got a job on the Board of a company called Topaz, which is owned by a man named Denis O’Brien, one of the wealthiest men in Ireland. This former leader was a man who was very senior in the government (Minister for Finance, controlled the money!) when the initial legislation on water was passed…Fast forward to current day. The government announced a while back that they were bringing in water charges and a company called Irish water, which Denis O’Brien has a financial interest in would be carrying out all maintenance of the water pipes, installing the water meters in homes etc.
This seems to have been the breaking point for the Irish people. People who have been ravaged by taxes and charges out the ass have said no more. A few very large protests have taken place in Dublin, the most recent was just this week. The organizers of the protest claimed 100k people took part. The Gardaí claimed 30k people and the Government run national broadcaster (RTE) duly reported this 🙂 It appears that well over half of the people in Ireland have stated they will not pay these charges. They have simply thrown the documentation they received in the post on their fire. Some have tried to organize a boycott against Topaz. (Denis O’Brien owned)…the Irish are standing up for themselves.
How do I feel about it? I’m very proud. I’m happy that OF ALL things, Water is the breaking point. After all Water=Life. The Germans now declare that internet is a human right, which I think is a bit ludicrous but water is so clearly a human right. I believe every country should pay for water through general taxation. People should never be under threat of having their water supply cut off. I understand the argument that water is becoming a scare commodity in the world and paying on usage would encourage people to not waste water but I think from a moral standpoint alone, water should not be something we are charged for based on usage. It must be available to all with no strings attached.
We may be overwhelmed with corruption in Ireland that creates a dark, sinister undertone in the country but through it all, we are a moral and just people. We are one of the most generous in terms of charity around the world. Even in the face of massive austerity, when we have to adjust our personal budgets, we have still found the funds to give to others less fortunate than ourselves. Water is another facet of our moral standing. I’m proud of those who have raised their voices, those that have refused to pay and those that spread the word.
Go raibh maith agat!