One of the major comments about the Irish people during the recent financial crisis and recession, was that there was no vocal, angry oppoistion on the street. This was a major factor in much instability faced by other countries faced with tough decisions because of the financial crash.
But why in Ireland, just as the recovery is starting to gain momentum, are now the Irish people protesting on the street?
Major protests are planned for today around the country against the implementation of water charges. The past number of weeks have been dominated by stories about Irish Water, its excesses, its board, the protests at installations and of course bonuses.
It is harder and harder for anyone to defend the mishandling of Irish Water, whether as a Government party supported or you see the need behind the introduction of water charges.
Irish people over the last number of years have made monumental sacrifices. Some have lost jobs, others seen the young people in their family leave for a better life elsewhere, while others have taken jobs they never thought they would do. We have seen higher taxes with USC, property charges and a range of other measures to shore up the Public Finances.
Water seems to be different. Why does a water utility need our PPS number? Why do we need to pay for our meter to be read if we are moving out? Why will callouts cost so much? Why will staff be paid bonuses when there is no benchmark for improvements?
There is a range of questions there that have no satisfactory answers. That has led to some misinformation, confusion and anger among ordinary Irish people, which I have not seen in my lifetime.
This is a wake up call for the Government and Irish Water. When dealing with the public you need to be open and honest. Only ask for the information you really need.
While I will not be protesting this weekend, I have some sympathy with those who do and believe the Government need to take a look again at Irish Water.
Otherwise this Government will face one of the biggest actions of Civil Disobedience this country has ever seen.