On Wednesday, September 25, éirígí Dublin North East held a successful community meeting in the Kilmore West Community Centre in Coolock. It was standing room only as up to 75 local residents packed into the room to listen to speakers and to discuss the next steps for a local campaign of resistance to the new Twenty-Six County water tax. The meeting also provided an opportunity for local residents to discuss a spate of home burglaries which have taken place in the area in recent months.
The meeting was chaired by Martin Farrell, who introduced the main speaker, éirígí’s Dublin North East representative, Ciaran Heaphey. A local resident and community activist from Kilmore also spoke from the platform.
In his contribution Ciaran informed the crowd of the hypocrisy of the Twenty-Six County Labour Party in government, of how they have sold out everything they once stood for and how they can no longer claim to represent working people. Ciaran went on to talk about the necessity of a strong community campaign to fight the water tax. He argued that that resistance cannot come from political parties or groups alone. The fight back has to involve everybody in the community standing up to austerity.
Questions were then taken from the floor, leading to a prolonged and lively discussion. Many amongst the crowd supported the building of some form of community-based campaign to stand against the water tax and other austerity measures.
The meeting then turned its attention to the issue of home burglaries in the surrounding Kilmore area. A local resident spoke from the floor about her and other locals’ concerns over the recent spate of break-ins. éirígí has helped to highlight this issue by disturbing hundreds of leaflets to households in the area advising residents to be vigilant. The local resident outlined how their fears were not being taken seriously by the Gardaí and how like the water tax the community needed to be strong and organised in the face of this problem.
Speaking after the meeting, Ciaran Heaphey said, “Tonight was a massive success. It was a triumph to get such a huge crowd to the meeting in the first place, particularly at a time when we are being told the Irish people have no fight left in them. The fact that the crowd had such a positive reaction to the idea of building a locally anchored campaign of resistance to the water tax was inspiring.
“I believe that the building of a network of such locally-controlled campaigns will be key to defeating the water tax. The recent experience of the anti-home tax campaign has shown the dangers that lie in centrally organised campaigns that are effectively controlled by one political party or another. éirígí has argued from its foundation that effective change will only come through mass political action organised at a community and work place level. Whether in Rossport, Belfast or Coolock our activists will do all that they can to support communities that are willing to stand up for their rights.
“We now need to push on from here and take the next step into building radical resistance within our communities. We can take inspiration from the high numbers who attended the meeting. It represented a good start for an anti-water tax campaign in this area. Working class communities have had enough and we hope that we are now seeing a willingness to fight back starting to emerge.”