200 march against the Household Tax in Newbridge

Date:

At half past one on Saturday March 10 there were 4 members of the Newbridge Campaign Against Household and Water Charges assembled in the driveway of the Patrician Brothers monastery.We had two megaphones and a placard between us. Needless to say we were eagerly looking around for other members and people to bolster our numbers as the start of the march was scheduled for 2pm.

In twos and threes people streamed over the bridge to join us. Our numbers began to grow slowly
but steadily as we chatted amongst ourselves. Our banners and placards drew supportive beeps from
passing vehicles and before we knew it we had around 150 people assembled. A number of photographers
moved around and through the crowd, taking photos. We all squeezed into the driveway of the monastery
for a couple of decent group shots. With the photographers asking people to group together, banner holders to
move left or right and people with placards to hold them up high I was thinking that if people were worried about
political parties looking to direct the campaign, it's the photographers that are the ones to watch out for!

At about 2:15pm after we had waited for a few stragglers to join us, we moved onto the bridge to
megaphone led chants of "Can't pay, won't pay!". As we marched up the town we were chatting with
the people next to us, making a bit of noise with the megaphones and whistles more people fell into
step with us and our numbers grew further. While a couple of us wrestled to keep our banner from
blowing us away we were encouraged by more support from passing motorists.

As it happened we had over 200 people marching when we arrived at Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon's office.
Myself and another member of the campaign quickly moved our banner to the front door of the office behind
the speakers so we wouldn't block the view from the path.

What follows is a brief account of speeches given by a member of the Newbridge CAHWT branch and
Claire Daly of the Socialist Party.

 

Having been lucky enough to have seen the speech that my fellow member of the Newbridge branch had
prepared I knew it was going to be good but I was taken aback with the energy with which it was
delivered. The speaker first introduced himself and then lauched into a tirade against austerity,
unaccountable government and the criminality of the bankers.

Points touched on included the popular opposition to the SOPA Ireland bill which the government ignored,
the successful defiance of the turf cutters to government policy and how we can not afford to stand by
while our future is dictated to us by the very same people who got us into this mess. The speaker said
that this campaign will not be bullied, it will not be ignored and that the time for us to take back
our country is now. After much applause the mic was passed to the next speaker.

Claire Daly spoke about how widespread the resistance to the tax is and how even if every citizen payed
the tax it would still only be a tiny fraction of what the government is squandering on banks like Anglo.
She further stated that with only 3 weeks to go before the deadline only 12% of people have paid the tax
and emphasized how important it is to get big numbers to the event in the National Stadium to give
confidence to people who are still uncertain of what they should do.

Over the applause and sound of car horns participants in the march were directed to Newbridge branch
members who could give them their membership in the campaign. Thanks to the assistance of a fellow
marcher who took over carrying my half of the banner, I was able to help out with this effort.
Fortunately I had brought lots of pens, membership cards and a cash float along.
We were overwhelmed with the uptake in membership and it was a busy 15 minutes where branch members
struggled to keep up with the demand for membership cards.

A couple of minutes after one woman and her partner had signed up, the same woman came back to sign up
her sister who was on the phone. While this flurry of new memberships cards were being handed out
members of Newbridge branch were handing out leaflets on the footpath and directing more people to
the sign up point.

Having started the day with four people, two megaphones and a placard I am very happy to report that
the Newbridge Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes has held another successful march in the
town bolstering growing public resistance to unfair household taxes.

Afterwards the membership funds collected were counted by three members of the Newbridge branch and we
found that we had raised hundreds of euros for the campaign. We will continue to publicise the campaign,
organise events, raise funds and increase the numbers joining the campaign. With only 12% having paid
the tax, the government will learn that there is only so far people can be pushed. As a woman said
to me recently "You can only stand on a dogs tail for so long".
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, it's about time the government got bitten.

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Jeff speaks to the Newbridge march against Household tax2.18 MB

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