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From Boycott To Frankfurt, Only Our Rivers Run Free

“When apples still grow in November

When Blossoms still bloom from each tree

When leaves are still green in December

It’s then that our land will be free

I wander her hills and her valleys

And still through my sorrow I see

A land that has never known freedom

And only her rivers run free”

So go the lyrics of Mickey MacConnell’s famous ballad “Only Our Rivers Run Free”, an indictment of the British Occupation and apartheid state in the North of Ireland in the 1960s, and now it seems that our Fine Oibre coalition government has determined that in the finest traditions of our colonial past even our waters will no longer run free. From the Irish Times:

“HOUSEHOLDS WILL pay an average of €39 per annum over 20 years to cover the cost of the loan from the National Pension Reserve Fund to install water meters in one million Irish homes.

Government sources confirmed yesterday the cost per household, based on the size of the NPRF loan, would work out at about €780, but that the cost would be levied as a standing charge over a period of two decades, in much the same way as such charges are already imposed by other utilities such as the ESB and Bord Gáis.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed yesterday that householders would pay for the cost of the meters but that the cost would not be an upfront one. Charges are to become operable in early 2014.

Government sources said last night that, in general, no charge would be applied until water meters were installed. However, it is unlikely that all one million homes will have meters in place by the end of next year.

The sources said households that have no meters installed will pay an “assessed charge” based on the metered charges paid by comparable metered properties. This system will be applied to the approximately 350,000 households that will not be metered because it would be too costly or too logistically difficult.”

Along with the so-called “Household Tax” the citizens of Ireland are being burdened with yet another mechanism to forcibly extract the maximum amount of money from their household earnings in order, ultimately, to pay off the banks and financial institutions of Germany, Britain and elsewhere in Europe (and we’re not the only ones). Irish families will go hungry (or into exile) while our absentee landlords in Frankfurt and London will grow fat on our suffering. And if we dare to resist this blatant system of extortionAccording to the Irish Independent:

“TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has warned that people will be cut off it they fail to pay water charges.

Amid continued speculation that households face an €800 bill for new meters, Mr Kenny refused to give details of potential costs when the new charge is introduced in 2014.

“These are all matters for discussion about how the system is actually going to work,” said Mr Kenny.

“If you don’t pay your electricity bill, if you don’t pay your water bill, it’s cut off.”

The Taoiseach pointed out that while water is “fundamental for life”, the Government is not in a position to give people a free allowance.”

Water is but of course “fundamental for life”, which is exactly why the Fine Gael – Labour government is ready to tax it – and at the behest of their masters in Europe. Like some bizarre, reborn clone of the 19th century Irish Parliamentary Party the coalition government will simply become the public face, the cipher and mechanism, for foreign interests in Ireland. Interests whose only purpose is to exploit the Irish nation and the Irish people for their financial, economic and political benefit.

However, not all the croppies are ready to lie down and die. As the Irish Examiner points out:

“Backlash over planned water charges has deepened after campaigners warned of a one million strong household boycott.

As Taoiseach Enda Kenny was accused of sending mixed messages over threats to cut-off non-payers’ supplies, a mass of residents’ committees nationwide warned they would not pay.

It has been previously reported that the Government could allocate 40 litres of water per day free to each household. Any water used on top of that would be charged.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “The Government is so gung-ho in forcing out levy after levy that the Taoiseach doesn’t know what he’s telling people.”

Ms McDonald said his contradictions were just another example of the “confused fiasco” during the run-up to the introduction of the household charge.

And with no Government guidance on costs for water, the Association of Combined Residents’ Associations (Acra) warned its members would not pay any tax on the family home.

“Our members up and down the country are already pinned to the collar trying to survive,” said spokesman Malachy Steenson.

“We successfully made the household tax one of the biggest campaigns in recent decades. Water charges will be even more forcefully opposed.”

John Lyons, Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, said the fact that half the population had yet to register for the controversial household charge suggested the same people would protest against water.

“If they cut our water supply – this life giving force – there will be a hell of a lot of trouble,” Mr Lyons warned.

“I think we could see a million people marching against the Government over this.”

The Government has estimated that around 906,000 households have registered for the €100 euro household charge – of a total 1.6 million that are eligible.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins accused Mr Kenny of “constructive ambivalence” and warned that the controversy surrounding the Government’s mixed messages would only intensify opposition to the charges.

“You could say that the Government is inept, but it maybe also reflects the fact that the Labour Party is desperately trying to cover up its pledge that it would not introduce water charges, which it has since betrayed,” Mr Higgins added.”

Of course one is left pondering the most obvious question of all. How is it that at the start of the 21st century the people of Ireland find themselves in the same position in relation to foreign powers and institutions that they were in at the start of the 19th century? Or indeed the 20th?

Is this not the ultimate indictment of our political, business and media classes who have led us full circle into a new quasi-colonial relationship with the European Union, and the absentee landlords of the IMF-ECB. From Boycott to Frankfurt, we find ourselves yet again the playthings of others.

“I drink to the death of her manhood

Those men who’d rather have died

Than to live in the cold chains of bondage

To bring back their rights were denied

Oh where are you now when we need you

What burns where the flame used to be

Are ye gone like the snows of last winter

And will only our rivers run free? “

4 comments on “From Boycott To Frankfurt, Only Our Rivers Run Free

  1. If I bought my own meter would they let me off this charge? After all I will be the owner of the unit they supply so why not buy my own and save the national pension fund a bundle?


    • Interesting question. If the answer was yes, would there be a standardized meter that you would be required to buy? Or would there be a multiplicity of types? And if so how reliable or regulated would they be? Who will calibrate them? How secure will they be? Could they be “finagled”?


  2. I am saddened that our people have lost the will to fight for basic freedoms like a roof over your head ,like water, education and health and a caring leadership who will protect the sick and old .Today it’s all about corrupt politicians and a Media that puts a spin on all information, foreign gangsters are running the country and traitors in the Dail are their spokesmen carrying out their unjust demands for evermore taxes on our oppressed people. How many more jobs will be lost? How many more new taxes will they impose on the ordinary people before they wake up and fight back?? I will never become a financial slave, and I will not allow myself to settle for the crumbs these gangsters hand out to decent men and woman on the Dole ! At the same time they pay themselves hundreds of thousands of Euros and support corrupt politicians like Laurey and Berty Ahern.


    • Good points. Looking at the way the people of Iceland pulled themselves back from the brink of destruction, and in the process reinvigorated their democracy, legal system and society, one despairs of an Ireland that chooses instead to tap-dance along the brink of destruction for the edification of the EU, ECB, IMF and international markets. It’s enough to turn a capitalist into a socialist. And I was half-way there already! 😉


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