Policy area: civic engagement
Short description: Resistance campaign for the abolition of water taxes
Qualitative evidence: A key outcome of the campaign was that it made water charges a potent symbol for resistance towards the politics of austerity. (…)In the aftermath of major public demonstrations in late-2014, the then-ruling coalition government of Fine Gael-Labour announced several concessions such as decreasing the cost of charges significantly until 2019, and providing official guarantees concerning the non-privatisation of Irish Water in the future. However, neither of these climb-downs appeased the movement and the issue of water charges plagued the government all the way through the 2016 General Election campaign. As a result, both of the incumbent governing parties suffered considerable losses: the Irish Labour party were virtually wiped-out (reduced from 37 to 7 representatives parliament), while Fine Gael lost 34% of their previous seats. By contrast, parties that supported abolition of the charges made significant gains. This resulted in the temporary suspension of water charges after the 2016 election due to a deal made between two of the largest parties - Fine Gael and Fianna Fail - in the context of a hung parliament.