No Taxation Without Representation

In recent weeks the right-wing Fine Oibre coalition and much of the equally right-wing press have confidentially asserted that the protests against water-charges and other forms of punitive taxation have largely dissipated in the face of government determination to pursue its programme of state-sanctioned “austerity”. The visible back-slapping of Fine Gael and Labour ministers and TDanna, not to mention the praise of sycophantic newspaper columnists and radio hosts, has been enough to raise the ire of even the most placid of individuals.

So it must have come as something of a nasty surprise to establishment Ireland when tens of thousands of men, women and children braved the torrential downpours on Saturday to fill the streets of the capital with one of the larger demonstrations against the formation of Uisce Éireann – Irish Water that we’ve seen in quite a while. Far from being resigned to their powerlessness it seems that the anger of Seán and Síle Citizen is growing apace, and most are looking forward to the general election due to be held sometime in the next several months. The poll-driven anxieties of Fine Gael and, to a far greater extent, the Labour Party, that an electoral armageddon may loom over the horizon seem entirely justified. Meanwhile the wayward hares of Fianna Fáil, fearing the left-wing and centre-left hounds nipping at their heels, are ready to jump into bed with their one-time civil war foes, all concerns of nominal ideological difference cast aside. Are we now facing the prospect of the most conservative administration taking office in Dublin since the days when the Free State regimists held sway?

If the revelations of the last few days are anything to go by it seems that the groundwork is being laid for a new Daorstát Éireann, an unfree state of Ireland. From thejournal.ie:

“ANTI-AUSTERITY ALLIANCE TDs have written to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in relation to claims gardaí have been spying on anti-water charge protesters.

Earlier today, the Irish Daily Mail claimed a team led by Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan, husband of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, has spent six months compiling profiles on protesters, including TD Paul Murphy, and their whereabouts.

The paper reports that the group is operating under the name Operation Mizen and says gardaí plan to extend the Dublin-based unit nationwide.”

Police officers spying on the elected members of a parliament? It fills one with foreboding for the future; a future that has perhaps already arrived.

“ANTI-AUSTERITY ALLIANCE TD Paul Murphy has been banned from holding a street and door-to-door collection for his party in south-west Dublin.

A letter to Murphy from a senior Garda officer says he won’t be allowed carry out the collection, and cites a section of the Street and House to House Collections Act 1962 as the reason.

The Section in question states:

A Chief Superintendent shall not grant a collection permit for any collection in respect of which he [sic] is of opinion that — (c) the proceeds of the collection or any portion thereof would be used in such a manner as to encourage, either directly or indirectly, the commission of an unlawful act.

 

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6 comments

  1. Taoiseach for Dummies? I pray to God that’s a real book. I could use a good read. Think I just had one, though. Thanks for the piece.

  2. Water charges is not a punitive tax. Everyone else in the EU pays them and no one thinks that the requirement to pay for water is a human rights violation.
    Access to an unlimited quantity of water is NOT a human right.

    And if you live in Dublin – you should have received your second water bill by now. Did you pay those bills or have you decided to live off my money? (at least for a while until they start to go after deliberate non-payers who have decided to parasite on others).

    1. Janis..Even you cannot be happy with Irish Water.
      With Denis O Brien having his hand in it.
      That must at least cause you to raise an eyebrow or two? Surely.
      Also I have heard that Fianna Failures considered billing people for water during the celtic tiger years..and decided to raise the money through the car tax levy.
      So Janis you are paying a few times over…Unless they have removed the cost from car tax when they set up Irish water. Have they?
      Also the Irish set up Irish water to keep the spending off the Irish Government debt ledger and Eurostat has said the Irish government has failed to decouple the costs correctly.
      So it’s a disaster all round.

      1. Of course I’m not happy – I’d like to live in a lefty utopia where everything is for free, there are no bills and everyone receives basic income and doesn’t have to work.
        But unfortunately the real world doesn’t work that way.

        And that “paying many times over” argument is nonsense – are IW staff receiving multiple salaries pre month? Have you ever thought that you previously didn’t pay enough?

        Also there aren’t earning enough money because of non-payers
        Currently you can “protest” and not pay, because they aren’t going after non-payers yet.

  3. Well, ultimately the majority of Irish people will decide what rights they have to Irish water, not some jumped up, Janis come lately ingrate. If it bothers you that much, you can always go back to whatever Eastern Utopia you hail from and see how out of pocket you will be then.

    1. Of course they will do.
      I’m a foreigner without voting rights and I don’t want to cause any trouble and I want to abide by the local law.
      The current democratically elected Irish government has decided that we must pay for water – that’s why I do it.
      When they will decide to abolish water charges – I will not pay them.

      Is that a problem?
      Do you want foreigners to not abide by the law and cause trouble?

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