- It isn’t just about water. This is about who paid for the last six years and who paid the gambling debts of an anonymous elite whose names have never been revealed – Ruth Coppinger.
Failing to make it to the big water protest in Dublin last Wednesday was a disappointment, given the enthusiasm invigorated as a result of the local protest against compulsory meter enforcement in Rosevale. There was a clash of schedules so I opted to attend to my gnashers rather than exercise my social responsibility. On arrival in the dentists I learned that due to some discrepancy in the fitting process I was rescheduled. I could have made the protest after all. Which was something of a bummer given that many of those who had taken part in the protest in our own estate had made the journey.
I clawed back some of the ground this morning by heading off to the local court in solidarity with Vikki Behan who had been arrested last night close to her home as she made her way to the shops. A fortnight past, she had turned up at the Rosevale protest in solidarity with those residents opposed to meter enforcement. Reciprocity seemed the proper thing to do. Last night she was stopped and searched on a nonsense pretence, not worth gracing by repeating, before being arrested, and held overnight. This morning she was ordered by the court to keep away from protests.
It is scandalous that a mother of young children should be forced to spend a night in the cells for protesting against government for the greedy. This is a society in which greed is rewarded with bonuses while opposition to greed finds itself banged up for the night. The cells seem to be a banker free zone when in fact a compelling case can be made that society should be building new jails to hold the fiends of finance. If Irish Water had the economic cop-on it would switch track and construct cells for bankers. There would be few protestors on the streets if the government asked us to cough up the money for that. We would be throwing it at them like confetti.
If Vicky Behan has broken any law, it is an unjust one and her breach of an unjust law is a just act. She is merely following the laudable example of Dail TD Paul Murphy who pointed out ‘I'm elected to break the law, to be honest. That's why I was elected.'
Vikki Behan was not hauled in front of a court for breaking the law but for having the temerity to break the cruel hearts of those willing to grind the poorest in this society into the arid ground of austerity. Talking to her outside the court today, the vibrancy she radiated was infectious. To her the moral victory, to the state the stain of shame. If convicted, she can brandish her rap sheet like a certificate of merit.