Why we have a Right2Change...

OVER the last seven years, we’ve been hammered by austerity. Some more than others. For instance, some billionaires have had hundreds of millions of their debt written off (only to be picked up by taxpayers) while the rest of us are told that if we don’t pay our water bills, we could end up in Court and have money taken directly from our wages.

One rule for them, one rule for us.

  • We’ve lost approximately 250,000 of our children to emigration – just to keep the unemployment figures down, while politicians and economists warn us of the dangers of capital flight if we simply mention corporation tax.
  • We’ve bailed out developers and bankers to the tune of €65 billion, while 40 families lose their homes every month.
  • We’ve given €400 million in tax cuts to the top earners in our society – with more promised in the next Budget, while one in 10 of us suffer from food poverty.
  • We have the largest class sizes in Europe while millionaires and billionaires use Ireland as their tax avoidance hub.

We could go on and on and on…but the point is, we have created one of the most unequal countries in the developed world where hundreds of thousands of us struggle to just get by – yet a relatively small few flourish in wealth we could barely imagine.

We don’t deserve that. None of us do. So we have to change it.

The Right2Water campaign has been one of the largest mobilisations of popular people power in the history of the state. One that has united the Left and brought the broadest possible coalition of people under the one banner proclaiming that water is a human right and water charges are an infringement of that right. Our experience shows that if we work together, we can mobilise and we can make enormous change in this country.

The Right2Water Trade Unions have been engaging with communities, political parties and other unions in recent months. We produced a Policy Principles Document for a Progressive Irish Government document in May 2015 and sought feedback through a submission process where everybody had a chance to have their say.

That resulted in almost 150 detailed submissions on areas as diverse as education, healthcare, housing, the arts, trade agreements (TTIP), natural resources and workers’ rights.

It is clear the society that has been carved out for us is not the one that people want. Since the submission process, we have held a conference with 220 activists who made amendments to the policies identified.

What’s obvious is, people feel we have a Right2Change. A right to change the type of society we live in. No more corruption, no more cronyism. Everyone should pay their fair share, including employers. Our society should be based on decency, equality and respect, not inequality, profit and greed.

With an election looming, the Right2Water Trade Unions will be asking election candidates to sign up to our policy principles. We have produced a fiscal and economic blueprint which could raise more than €9 billion in revenue over four years, giving us scope to tackle homelessness, hospital waiting lists, A&E trolley numbers and lower class sizes, among other areas that benefit us all.

If we want to change Ireland, it has to begin with us. We need to get involved in the change we want. That begins on Saturday, 29th August in Dublin at 2pmwhere the Right2Water campaign will be hosting another major demonstration.

We’re asking all Mandate members to come along, bring your family and friends, ask your neighbours to come and let’s make this the biggest demonstration yet.

The event will be another family-friendly event with balloons and face painting for children. There may be an exciting announcement made on the day – so don’t miss out!

Go to www.right2water.ie for more information.

Join the Facebook event page here and share with all your friends on social media.