Right2Water Tds' premature Victory claim - We were sold a pup?

by James Quigley & Enda Craig.

It is now over two weeks since a group of Right2Water TDs stood on the plinth at Leinster House on Thursday April 6th and gave a press release to the nation declaring ‘victory’ for Right2Water Ireland.

Only a week later campaigners throughout the country were in disarray and in shock after finding out that the ‘victory’ that was announced was based on a ‘Confidential Draft Report’ and that a subsequent 'final report' was passed by 13 votes to 7 in the Oireachtas Water Committee on April 11th. (Details and differences between both reports can be found Here )

Right2Water Ireland and supporting political parties immediately turned on Fianna Fáil, accused them of a double-cross and quickly instigated a media onslaught against them. No doubt Fianna Fáil broke their manifesto promises to the Irish people by voting in favour of the ‘final report’. But was this not inevitable and expected?

Rather than follow the herd and take swipes at the obvious Fianna Fáil villain, we think it might be more productive to look at events surrounding the leaking of the ‘Confidential Draft Report’ and the subsequent premature calls of ‘victory’. An elephant in the room that is highly revealing but has been overlooked in the orchestrated stampede of incrimination.


Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Fein “Our collective view is that the report which we are going to vote on later today is an enormous victory for the Right2Water campaign.”


Those in the wider 'Mass Water Campaign' are kept in limbo by leadership

Does Right2Water have a victory or not, that is the question? People can be forgiven if they can’t answer that because the confusion of whether we have a victory or not has not been cleared up. It could be that R2W and their supporting political parties are not sure themselves or it could be some kind of tactic or hidden agenda possibly to keep us in an state of anxiety.

In any case the masses are still being kept in limbo, in the dark,  out in the cold, not privy to the finer details of the political processes.  For the past year the movement have been mere spectators while the Right2Water TDs as Brendan Ogle says 'took the mantle and ran with it' .


Brendan Ogle Right2Water claims victory for the water movement in Ireland in a youtube video entitled 'Pow Wow with Dean Scurry #2 - Brendan Ogle & Frankie Gaffney'. The video was published on April 14, 2017, 3 days after a final Oireachtas Report by the Oireachtas Committee on Domestic Water Funding .


Cynical manipulation of the 'mass movement'

It is cynical how condescendingly praise is magnanimously bestowed on the 'mass water movement'.  Of course,  it is handy at times to occasionally dish out a little praise to keep the support of the hard grafting supporters who march up and down the roads.  However, it seems to be the case not to dish out too many honest facts. The masses might then become aware of the agenda of the political parties and indeed the Right2Water leadership.

Like a chip of the old establishment block, the leaders know best, give the public as little info as possible and feed them plenty of bullshit.

This type of manipulation was clearly demonstrated on April 6th and it’s aftermath when the Right2Water TDs, strutted forth in what looked liked a prearranged show of unity and announced ‘victory’ to the nation on the plinth outside Leinster House. The long campaign was at an end they assured us and each in turn got a bit of the limelight. They were, of course, magnanimous in their praise of the ‘mass movement.

Right2Water TDs strutting forth in 'Resevoir Dogs' styleon April 6th to the awaiting media.

A surprising and incredible Right2Water claim turned on its head

We were surprised and maybe, like many, a little elated about the Right2Water TDs' claim of 'victory. Firstly, having followed the Oireachtas Committee proceedings as best we could, we knew that any decision hung in the balance even if Fianna Fáil voted with R2W and secondly, having got a copy of the report online the day before,  our attention was drawn to a red water mark that stated ‘Confidential Draft Report’. We wondered how victory could be claimed on what was essentially a draft report.

The euphoria and surprise about victory was short lived.   By Thursday evening only a few hours after the press release by Right2Water TD’s the mainstream media informed us that voting on a final report was postponed until the following Tuesday.

Frantically over the next couple of days the hard reality began to hit us.  There was never any victory in the first place. How could there be since the only report circulating at the time was a ‘draft’ one and as it turned out not a final report. The mass movement were left hanging for over a week with neither a proper explanation as to why such a claim of victory was made in the first place and in public.

It is interesting to note here that having read the so called ‘draft report’ we had major reservations about even basing such a claim on it. You can read the differences between 'draft' and 'final' reports here .  Also you can read our critical article on the final report here
 criticism that can as easily be levied on the so called 'draft report'.

Also we were sure that in the unlikely event of a vote taken on this draft report, given the make up of the Oireachtas Committee and it’s previous voting pattern, it would not have been passed.

One of many questions sticks out a mile

Séamus Healy, Ind.  Also in the picture are Joan Collins, Ind4Change, Mick Barry, Solidarity and out in force Sinn Féin.

Why did the Right2Water TDs do what they did and ‘collectively’ lie in front of the nation.  A lie that has never been acknowledged, never mind explained by Right2Water or their supporting political parties, even two weeks later.

Our inquiriesabout why the press release was issued in the first place have got few responses other than a tirade of abuse leveled at Fianna Fáil and one possible constructive explanation from an inside source.  However, after consideration the explanation is not credible, i.e Right2Water TDs and those who planned the press release were trying to preempt Fianna Fáil taking credit for the 'victory'.

That explanation was an insult to our intelligence.  It seemed too simplistic and incredible that all those highly intelligent Right2Water TDs would take part in such an elaborate hoax just to jump in ahead to claim a fictitious victory.

In the absence of an honest explanation we have come up a couple of other scenarios.  Could the TDs be naive in thinking that they had won a victory, when they knew that the report was only in a 'draft' stage?.    Were they trying to drum up support for the R2W demonstration in Dublin two days later?  Were they trying to put pressure on Fianna Fáil or the Committee to pass the draft report?  We discounted all these scenarios.   The last point about putting political pressure on Fianna Fáil or the Oireachtas Committee needs a little elaboration.  Any Tom Dick and Jane would know to downplay their cards in any negotiation.  So why boast of a victory especially giving the opposition a heads up in the negotiations alerting them of your perceived 'victory'. 

Indeed none of these scenarios are believable, but to make a lie credible it is a good idea to base it on some truth and we find in this case when one considers we are dealing with political one-upmanship and political parties who are only interested in percentages and the next election, preempting Fianna Fáil and more importantly their subsequent vilification does indeed make sense.  It now all about the next election and Sinn Féin in particular at all out to bump up their ratings and bring down their arch rival. 


PS -  Victory, nothing of the sort, we were sold a pup

It is our opinion that the 'mass water movement' does not have a victory and in fact never had one.    Even in the unlikely event that the so called ‘Confidential Draft Report’ was passed, victory would have be a Pyrrhic one.  Another simple bit of reasoning about whether we have a victory or not, would be that if we hadhow could Fianna Fáil be blamed for the defeat.  Read our opinion about whether there was a victory or not here.