The Youth of SYRIZA expresses its solidarity to the five Irish campaigners, Derek Byrne, Damien O’Neill, Paul ‘Ollie’ Moore, Bernie Hughes and Michael Batty, against the commercialisation of water who were imposed prison sentences for their struggles against private water companies and guards. Since the rise of the grassroots movement defending the right to water, the Irish establishment has been shaken. The five activists ‘dared’ ignoring an injunction that nullifies in practice the right to peaceful protest by prohibiting them to be closer than 20 m to the sides of water meters installation. Their ‘disobedience’ is a stark reminder for all of us that civil rights are not empty shells, they can and should be effective.
Importantly, the sentencing of the five is part of a wider intimidation campaign against those that resist water charges. In the course of the last two weeks numerous activists have been arrested and the fact that no charges were pressed against them only confirms the suspicion that the move is politically motivated. The Irish state even chose to arrest underage children, in a gesture that exemplifies the war neoliberal elites have launched against the youth across Europe. Be it unemployment, privatisation of university, forced migration or criminalisation of our struggles, it is now crystal clear that neoliberal governments cannot guarantee our future.
We are proud that just some weeks ago our delegation in Dublin had the privilege to discuss with the Right to Water movement and to meet one of the now jailed activists, Bernie Hughes. We demand the immediate termination of the intimidation campaign and express our deepest solidarity to the Irish people, and to all peoples across Europe who are fighting against austerity and neoliberal authoritarianism. The Greek example proves that there is no enemy too strong to be defeated.
Youth of SYRIZA