Ireland: 80,000 march in protest at austerity linked new water charges

Tens of thousands of people have marched through Dublin, Ireland, in protest at controversial new municipal water charges introduced as part of the country’s austerity deal with Europe. Irish Water started billing residents for water usage in April following an agreement made with creditors under the terms of the bailout plan in 2010.

The water charges were ordered by the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Union in a bid to boost the revenue raised from taxes in the Republic. Critics say the charges are having a catastrophic impact on the poorest members of society whilst barely impinging on the lives of the richest.

At a press conference for the event, union leader John Douglas said: “Ireland is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world where hundreds of thousands of us struggle to just get by… at the same time, a relatively small few flourish in barely imaginable wealth.”

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