by Owen Curran,
Owen is a Donegal anti water charges campaigner from Gortahork who has been active over the past few years. Here he voices his concerns over what appeared to be premature celebrations of victory in the campaign last week.
As an anti-water charges campaigner who has been active over the past few years , I feel I must voice my concerns over what appears to be the premature celebrations of victory in this campaign .
We had the spectacle of opposition T.Ds coming to the Dail plinth- Declaring victory 3 days before an organized march that activists all over the country including in Donegal were working hard to maximise the attendance for . The resulting attendance of approx.40,000 was healthy , however many more people felt there was no need to travel as the 'victory' was already achieved.
To come out declaring victory ahead of the actual goals of our campaign being achieved ie. the legislative abolition of water charges .A referendum on the ownership of water ,and an end to the metering programme is definitely premature and also confusing for many people. We seem to be left waiting on what F.F. are prepared to do , which is ironic to say the least considering it was them who first proposed the introduction of water charges in December 2010,although it is a testament to the strength of this movement that F.F.have been pressured into now opposing water charges .
If and when the charges are actually abolished there will be, no doubt, more' jockying for position' among politicians , parties and groups to claim credit . Yes, politicians and unions have played their part. The unions affiliated to Right2Water certainly put 'their money where there mouths were' by funding the big events of the campaign.
It has to be pointed out though that neither politicians or unions started this campaign nor do they 'own ' it . The so-called 'ordinary people' stood against water charges from their introduction , we did not wait around until politicians came to direct and lead us . We did not wait until we heard some politician 'call' on us not to pay to decide we would withhold payment . And we dont need anyone jostling themselves to the front of the movement at this stage as to look as if they have been leading the way all along , therefore deeming themselves worthy of a vote come election time .
What we do need is a coming together of those willing to learn the lessons of the Anti-water charges campaign and to take those lessons forward to build a united movement that will be fit and willing to tackle the issues of Health , Housing , the decline of our communities in an organised manner , to name just a few .