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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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New TD's call for water boycott: 'If people stick together we can beat this thing'

The Socialists are celebrating tonight.

Paul Murphy at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght today
Paul Murphy at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght today
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE NEW SOCIALIST TD for Dublin South-West has called for people to openly revolt against the water charges and not pay their bills when they land in January.

Paul Murphy, who was the surprise winner of the by-election for Brian Hayes’s Fine Gael seat today, said the message from today’s result was clear.

“This is a result because of a revolt against the water charges, there’s no question about it,” he told reporters immediately after celebrating his success at the Tallaght count centre.

“The Anti-Austerity Alliance provided a very clear opposition to water charges. Our call for a massive boycott campaign, a massive campaign of protest, resonated right across the constituency.

“I think that was reflected in the vote, that in reality that movement on water charges has now propelled us into the Dáil.”

He said he was now advising people not fill out their Irish Water application packs, to send them back to the utility company and prepare themselves for refusing to pay when bills are sent out in January.

The former MEP explained: “People can refuse to pay en masse. Revenue is not involved, the money cannot be taken out of people’s wages, social welfare or pensions, and people cannot have their water cut off.

“So the key sanctions that they used against us in the past aren’t available to them now and if people stick together and have confidence we can beat this thing.”

He said that his agenda in the Dáil, aside from opposing water charges, would be to fight the austerity policies of the government.

While Murphy admitted he does not currently live in the Dublin South-West constituency – he is resident in Ballinteer – he said he had always intended to move into it irrespective of whether he won today or not.

Socialist TD Joe Higgins said that the election of a third Socialist Party deputy to the Dáil – and the second in less than six months after Ruth Coppinger’s victory in Dublin West – is ”an earthquake by any standards.”

He said: “What we did say to people in the course of the campaign was that if you send a Sinn Féin TD in from here no one will bat an eyelid – it was expected.

“But if you send Paul Murphy, because of what he stands for in terms of the type of movement that’s needed against austerity and particularly to smash the water charges, that will cause a massive rattling of the cage of the government.”

Read: Socialist Paul Murphy beats Sinn Féin to win Dublin South-West by-election

Read: Cathal King admits Sinn Féin’s policy on water charges ‘confused’ voters

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Hugh O'Connell

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