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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
the national mood

The inevitable "not enough, not even close" reactions to the Government's big announcement

How are people feeling in the wake of this afternoon’s set-piece announcement in the Dáil? Here’s how…


The broad contents of the Government’s last-chance-to-win-everyone-over plan to relaunch water charges had been known well in advance of this afternoon’s ‘big reveal’.

Leaks have been emerging for weeks ahead of today’s set-piece announcement by recently-installed Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

Now, though, it’s all signed, sealed and delivered…

Those rubber-stamped new rules mean we’ll all face bills of between €60 and €160 per year, depending on circumstances.

Opponents of the charging scheme have also been clear in recent days that the campaign of mass protests will continue until the Government is defeated entirely on the issue.

No doubt, the statements of reaction from the main campaign groups were drafted well in advance of this afternoon…

From Right2Water — the umbrella group taking in everyone from Sinn Féin to unions like Unite, to the ‘Spectacle of Hope’ community groups: 

“In its attempt to stem the tide of public outrage [...] the Government has now introduced what is basically a new flat-rate home tax – one which will see a low-income family in rented accommodation paying the same as an affluent household in an owner-occupied mansion.

At the same time, any pretence at conservation has been abandoned.

“We are now in the home straight of our campaign for complete abolition of water charges, and Right2Water is urging people to take the demand for abolition to the gates of Dail Eireann on December 10 – International Human Rights Day – when a People’s Assembly will take place at 1 pm.”

From Communities Against Water Charges — the umbrella organisation representing many of the ‘Says No’ groups around Dublin 5 & 15: 

“We at Communities Against Water Charges feel that the Government’s legislative changes in relation to Irish Water are in no way a reflection of the peoples feelings on the whole water charge issue.

“The announcement made today in Dáil Éireann is another fine example of how far removed this Government are from the working class people currently feeling the pain of their horrendous austerity measures of the past few years.

“As these reforms in no way mention the abolition of the charges or dismantling of the quango that is Irish Water, we at Communities Against Water Charges will continue to protest peacefully across Dublin North East, along with communities throughout the country, and resist this regressive tax with all the power and resources at our disposal.”

From Sinn Féin’s Environment Spokesman Brian Stanley:

“The fact that the initial bills for water will now be substantially lower than those announced by the Energy Regulator at the beginning of October is a victory for opponents of the water charges.

“The Government now needs to go one step further and abolish the water charges altogether.

“If they are not abolished then households will face much higher bills when the concessions are due to end after 2018.

“In the meantime if Irish Water is retained it will accumulate further massive debts over the next four years. Will that be handed on to households after 2018?”

Twitter & General Reaction

Again, reaction is pretty much as one might expect from some politicians…

The ‘National Mood’

Meanwhile, the majority of callers to Joe Duffy’s Liveline earlier were overwhelmingly against the charges, with many saying they wouldn’t pay.

A text poll by the Radio 1 programme asked ‘are the new charges acceptable?’

The answers:

71% NO

29% YES 

Just under 15,000 voted in that survey. A poll on our own website on Monday (before further climb-downs were announced) showed similar results…


Meanwhile, respondents to a vox-pop carried out by RTÉ news were overwhelmingly against the charges (listen below, in Philip Boucher-Hayes’ tweet)…

This is what respected UL economist Stephen Kinsella made of this afternoon’s events…

While even the leader of the Late Late Show’s house band has been weighing in…

Read: The Dáil was suspended for 45 minutes after Alan Kelly went to a press conference

Confirmed: Here’s how much you’ll be paying for water – and what happens if you don’t

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