The Irish Water issue, nationalism, parliamentarism and community

By James Quigley


Concentrate on the Water Issue, we need a victory

I have been calling for the Irish Water Campaign to concentrate on the water issue for quite some time now and as time has gone on, I have not changed my mind. The water campaign has been distracted by elections, political parties and a myriad of other issues to such an extent that we are in danger of loosing sight of our goal the abolition of Irish Water, privatisation of our natural resource, the structuring of this vital resource and the charging mechanism for it's supply.

The water issue must be won. The dejected Irish people need a victory and what better remedy for a depressed spirit than a victory by the people in a fundamental issue such as the ownership and organisation of our water supply. It is an issue which most people understand and feel strongly about. It is an issue which epitomises the failure in our system, austerity, corruption by several Governments. It epitomises, what many see as the sellout of our country.

The water campaign is winnable. This has been demonstrated numerous times in the past. The way to win, I believe,  is through the boycott campaign, remaining steadfast in our aims and publicising clear campaign goals. Let's not forget past campaigns where households in Donegal stood strong having their water supply cut off for almost 2 years.

Forget about the elections. I suppose that's going to be hard for the next six weeks. Maybe we should all turn off our tellies until the show is over. An infamous Labour Party man once brazenly said 'sure isn't that what politicians do at election time', while discussing politician lying about election promises.

A friend in the water campaign keeps pointing out to me that once we get the elections out of the way, we can then concentrate on the nitty gritty.  He also refers to the 'Local' as in working and concentrating locally, building community awareness.

I agree, both with the concept of 'local power' and with the idea that after the election we will separate the sheep from the goats, those who are sincere about the water campaign and those who were in it for self interest or party politics.

Political farce and election gimmickry

No matter who gets elected, parliamentary democracy is a farce.  Not only is the process of democratic elections a clever smokescreen, an illusion of democracy but also the parliamentary system is a corrupt and corrupting system and no matter how much tinkering that is done, nothing can reform such a system that we have in this country today. 

It is a bastard system, cloned together by church and foreign oppressors and proselytized by self serving local politicians, judges, clergy, administrators and intelligentsia.  Elections are a trick, a mirage of democracy.  We want so much to be free to choose, to elect that we do not see the big con job.  Behind the scenes, is the money, the big shooters with their legions of public relation firms, trends analysers, crunching the numbers,  the economical, political and demographical trends.  They explore statistics, your weaknesses to find out just what buttons to push.  You don't have a chance, like lambs to slaughter. 

Once again, at the 2016 general elections, we will be handing the gombeens power for the next 5 years.  It is not democracy.  It is rule by stealth where minority parties club together to clobber the majority.

Don't take me wrong, I hope the enlightened, angry Irish will flock to the booths and tick a box next to independent thinkers with integrity, socialists and anyone advocating direct democracy or a sovereign nation.  The Party system is an anethema and with it's strict whip system and leadership system is totally contrary to democracy.  Do not be fooled by the clarion calls of 'Strong Leadership', it is a synomum for dictatorship and a long way from democracy.  But I don't think the conservative electorate will change .  It will be the same old, same old with maybe Sinn Fein joining the party picking up the disaffected Fianna Fail ministers, thus becoming the main opposition.

This was told to me a year ago by a prominent Sinn Fein party organiser, who said that they weren't ready yet for power, that the water issues was an irritant and that a FG/FF was the preferred outcome. Interesting! the intrigues and posturing of parliamentary democracy. 

On a side note, anyone thinking that Sinn Fein is our great white hope, that they are our only chance of winning the water issue, well I would say think again. Not only are there any number of signs and facts that tell us 'beware' but also there are many more mind-blowing revelations that will come out about the insidious nature of the party.

Back to the Dail

How come the Dail is full of professional classes, doctors, lawyer, publicans, teachers, an assortment of buffoons who as soon as they enter the grandiose halls are somehow affected by the trappings and take on airs and graces, especially the art of politicians, the art of lying.  It is a club where you get up in the morning, check your bank balance, chauffeured to the haloed halls of the Houses of the Oireachtas where maybe you might have a pint or croissant in the Dail bar, have a chat attend a committee or two and if you feel like it go in for the odd vote just to tick your expenses card. Ding! 


The fundamental water Issue is the catalyst

If you think about it the water issue encompasses many fundamental concepts such as the rights of people, not least the vulnerable, all facets of life, the economy, our natural resources, our health, wealth and control of our destiny (I suppose that's a bit flowery) but nevertheless important.

The water issue is understood by most people and this is why we can win it. When the majority of people fundamentally understand the concept that is how we win it. Granted there are many who understand and have experienced austerity but it is the water issue that is the catalyst, the glue. It is too difficult to get bogged down in every issues but if we stick to one fundamental issue then we have a chance of winning the heart and soul of Ireland.

Future strategy of water campaign

First let me say that we have to free our minds,  think out of the box, expand our horizons, and become more independent in our outlook, believe in yourself.   Why are we so entrenched in the idea of leaders, hero worship, glory, riches, coming first at all costs?  Why are we becoming more insular and selfish?  Well it is all a device to keep you down, under the thumb.

Our immediate strategy in the water campaign should be to build on the boycott campaign. Forget about the elections. Already we have seen infighting and factions and power grabs. AndI am talking about the water campaign here.   After the elections and possible let-down, there will be enough left to fight and instead of elections we can concentrate on the campaign.  We can hit them in the pockets, we can hit them in their courts.  Remember, there has never been a case against a householder or Irish Water contracts etc, etc.  This has all to come.

We have to publicise our goals and how we intend to achieve these.  However, to do this we have to know what these goals are.  It is easy to say' abolish Irish Water', 'scrap the water charge'.  But how do we achieve these?  This is a fundamental problem within the movement and it has not been addressed.  Even within the movement the abolition of Irish Water is not a clear goal.

Personally, I think we should back the courageous SIPTU members in their call to bring back control of our water resources to the local authority.  It is this local control that is most important.  Control of this vital resource is nearer the community, less likely to be privatised and the expertise is there on how to run it.  Funding it should be through taxation and it is up to the Government to provide employment to all where we will contribute to this taxation.  The Government must not make scapegoats of citizens for their own ineptitude.

It is this idea of local control that is very important. I would add that it is this idea of 'local control' that is most important and is one that has brought me to the following concept.

Long Term, an Optimistic Plan and thinking out of the box

Abolish the Dail, that donkey sanctuary, and all its trappings and along with it the privileged, unelected senate, the wasteful presidential office, the Constitution,  the so called legal system, all the corrupt, irreformable, the labyrinth of outdated paraphernalia which we somehow thought a prerequisite of a modern country.

Through these systems which we aped or we were cajoled or lead into accepting, we have ended up with what we have today, a system corrupt, far removed from a pluralist, egalitarian society. We have been enslaved to the power of oligarchs, religious zealots and foreign influences. We have lost all control of our own destiny. 

We must discard the shackles, lock, stock and barrel and organise our society so that people have control of their own lives, free to choose, diverse in culture. We have to take our destiny into our own hands and not let eejits, psychopaths have control.

We have the wisdom, a natural Irish instinct, a culture, albeit a bit lost. We have the resources, our natural resources i.e water, gas, oil, land and sea etc.   Not only that we have the untapped ability of our people including all those who have been forced to leave the country.  Do you not think we are capable of much more?

The way to do achieve it is through 'Local'. We must forget about colonial and religious concepts of control and structure, the Dail and parliamentary trappings. We must wipe the slate clean and devise a system for ourselves. We have a history and past and a basic structure which we can draw on. From our forefathers, our rebels, our 1916 martyrs, our writers and scholars, our sad history or oppression, our clan system and the Brehon laws, we can organise ourselves much better. Basic structures are there, we only have to reorganise it.

Instead of the clan system, we should think 'County', where each county is the clan.  Instead of the Dail we think County and Provincial organising structures i.e Munster, Leinster, Uster and Connaught.  Power devolved to the 'County', as close to the people as possible. This is where we have more control over our own lives.  This is where we have responsibility.

There are well defined and historical boundaries (even with it's own culture and language). This is not as far fetched as you might think. Structures are already in place, maybe not for long, the way centralised government and Europe are going. Already town councils have gone, and more and more executive control is taking over county level.

These county structures will have to totally be reformed,  copper-fastening representation of the people, the power to recall their representatives if they want, take away executive power and control of administration.  Give power back to the people.

Each County will be autonomous and run according to its citizens with reference to provincial agreements under a totally new constitution, new laws and legal system, (think updated Brehon Laws and the clan system).

There will be no corruption since the people will have control, no selling our resources, no North / South division, Catholic/Protestant. Co Antrim will have it's own power just the same as Co Kerry, no nationalism.  You could call it 'countyism'.  Sounds like socialism, doesn't it.  

The banking system could be run similar to credit unions and emphasis would be on co-operatives or worker's control.  I am sure if people had power they would make sure that our health, education and welfare systems would be geared to the community interest.

We have in place a very clever and capable civil service. This will continue but it must be reformed into a service for the people of Ireland, free of all political influences and party appointees.


You have the general gist. Just think what is possible and don't let narrow minded, self interested, party controllers damper your enthusiasm. Just tell them no thanks, they are telling lies and you do not trust them one little bit.

One of the best articles I have read on the subject The Irish Times and the late Peter Mair