Below is a statement from Brendan Young on behalf of a group of anti water charge activists who met last Saturday, April 16, in the Teachers Club, Parnell Square.
The meeting was in response to a unilateral call from Brendan Ogle for all TDs who support the movement's aims to vote for a Fianna Fail minority government (see our article Anti Water campaign broadsided amid Dail doldrums ). This controversial issue highlights divisions and uncertainties within the anti water charge movement which the political stalemate in the country is causing. The meeting was an initial attempt to find an agreement on the way forward for the anti water charge movement. A further meeting will be held this Saturday, April 23, in the Teachers Club, Parnell Square, Dublin, 2-4pm. The movement has to take the initiative away from politicians and demand that our voice be heard.
We agreed the following: (see attendees below)
1. With regard to the public discussion on the formation of the next government, we are opposed to the movement against the water charge calling for TDs to vote for a government of the parties responsible for the austerity imposed to pay for the bank bailout – including the water charge;
2. Instead we support a call for all TDs who say, or have said, they oppose the water charge to vote to immediately abolish the water charge and to immediately abolish IW when a Bill to that effect is put before the Dail;
3. We are aware of discussions amongst anti-water-charge TDs on drafting a Bill and look forward to seeing that draft Bill in the coming week;
4. We are in favour of such a Bill being a cross-party Bill, rather than a Bill presented by any one party;
5. We are in favour of all TDs who say they oppose the water charges being asked to sign this Bill;
6. While we support a Bill being put to the Dail, we regard mass non-payment as key to defeating the water charge and are committed to promoting the boycott of the charge;
7. We are in favour of a national demonstration against the water charge – and in support of a Bill to abolish the charge and abolish IW – involving all who oppose the water charge;
8. We are aware that a Bill will not be put to the Dail until after the formation of the next government; we favor a demonstration before the formation of the next government;
9. We are aware of discussions taking place, amongst the TDs and parties involved in the drafting of a Bill, on the possibility of a national demonstration – and the possibility that these TDs and parties may agree to call a national demonstration; we look forward to hearing the outcome of this discussion in the coming week;
10. We agree to a press conference being called, involving broad participation of anti water charge TDs, in response to IW payment figures when they are announced in the coming week;
11. We support a visible mobilisation of all who oppose the water charge at the Reclaim the Vision of 1916 event on Sunday April 24 in Dublin – assemble in Merrion Sq at 14.00 and bring banners; the organisers ask anti-water charge groups to join the parade behind the banner 'Irish Republic – ownership of Ireland'
12. We are in favour of a national day of action against the water charge in the near future – provisionally on Saturday April 30, depending on the outcome of the discussion on calling a national demonstration mentioned above – and will discuss this at our next meeting;
13. In the event that the incoming government does not scrap the water charge, we support open discussion and democratic decision-making in the next phase of the campaign;
14. we agree that there is a need for systematic work on social media; we will discuss how best to do this at our next meeting;
15. We will meet again at 14.00 – 16.00 in the Teachers Club, Parnell Sq on Sat April 23. This meeting is open to all who oppose the water charge and we will publicise the meeting as much as possible.
Attendance: Paddy Healy, Sean Heffernan, Seamus McDonagh, John Lyons, Donall O'Ceallaigh, Garrett Banks, Joe Kelly, Enda Craig, James Quigley, Shane Fitzgerald, Eddie Doyle, Joanne Pender, Liz Wilders, Mary O'Donnell, John Meehan, Aaron Nolan, Paul Murphy, Ciara Hendrick, Evelyn Campbell, Pat Waine, Brendan Young.