Green Party/Fianna Fail pledge to reintroduce water charges will spark a water war. Massive boycott will erupt – again. Monumental hypocrisy in talking about reducing water waste in view of utter inaction of last 15 years.
PAYE workers and hard pressed families will be outraged to see that the Green Party and Fianna Fail have agreed to reintroduce water charges. The revised Programme for Government is clearly a continuation of Government policy of landing the price of the crash in the capitalist economy squarely on the shoulders of working people.
Minister Mary Hanafin, who was part of the Fianna Fail negotiation team at the talks with the Green Party, said some time ago that if water charges had not been abolished in 1996, every household would now face a yearly bill of up to €800. That is a measure of the burden that is being contemplated for working people’s households even if it first mooted as a low charge.
Fianna Fail and the Green Party are guilty of blatant hypocrisy when they speak of introducing a charge for water ‘to reduce waste’. As far back as 1995 the Federation of Dublin Anti Water Charges Campaigns demanded that Government and Local Authorities would introduce changes in Building Bye Laws to install mandatory inbuilt water saving features in new homes and provide assistance for owners of existing homes for modifications to the same effect. Nothing was done in the intervening 15 years despite the fact that up to half the present housing stock was built in that time.
The fact is that countless billions of litres of drinking standard water could have been saved every year if all the building constructed over that time had water conservation features. But now it is back to the same old catch cry of reducing waste as an excuse for more taxation on those paying most already.
Should the Government attempt to reintroduce the hated water charges which we worked so hard to abolish in the 1990s we promise them a major water war. Just as happened in the 1990s there will be a massive boycott with people power coming directly into play to defeat any plans to introduce a water tax. It was such a campaign in the 1990s that forced the Fine Gael/Labour Party Government to abolish water charges for the whole country in December, 1996.Joe Higgins MEP (Former Chair, Federation of Dublin Anti Water Charges Campaigns), Cllr Clare Daly (Former Vice Chair FDAWC), Mick Murphy (Former Treasurer FDAWCC), Councillor Ruth Coppinger, Councillor Mick Barry, Councillor Terry Kelleher, Councillor Frank Gallagher