“Are you going to pay your water charges, Gerry?” – Redux

The Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, TD, would like to change his previous answer to the question.  Again.  Here’s his new new position on water charges

“Sinn Féin is standing firmly with those families and hard pressed citizens who very simply cannot pay the Government’s water tax. As a mark of solidarity, I have decided that I will not pay this Government’s Water Tax. [added emphasis]

To be fair, up until a month ago the Louth TD didn’t realise he would have to pay water charges – what with him being ordinarily resident “in the North”.  As Miriam Lord related at the time

How a person living on just the average industrial wage and mere average industrial expenses could overlook such a wallop in the wallet is puzzling. So we listened back to this exchange between Gerry and Joe Finnegan on Shannonside Radio on Monday morning.

“Are you going to pay your water charges, Gerry?”

“Well, it doesn’t affect me in so far as, eh, I, in the North where my family home is, Sinn Féin stopped water charges…”

“So you won’t have to pay water charges here in the South?”

“No, not, not, not to my knowledge.” [added emphasis]

The party president’s faulty knowledge was subsequently corrected by a Sinn Féin party spokesman.

…when asked by the Irish Independent if Mr Adams would pay water charges for his holiday home in Donegal and his two constituency offices, a Sinn Fein spokesman said the party leader would be paying the charge in all instances.

However, he will not be paying water charges for the house in Louth where he is registered to vote.

Gerry will pay the water charge on his house in Donegal and his constituency office,” he said. “The house in Co Louth in which he stays belongs to a friend, so this is not matter for Gerry,” he added. [added emphasis]

And once the party president had decided his new position… By the time of the party’s launch of its alternative budget submission Sinn Féin was, if not in crisis, in disarray.

Speaking at the launch of the party’s pre-budget submission in Dublin yesterday, senior Sinn Fein TDs Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty and Caoimhghin O Caolain said they will follow suit [and, like the party president, pay the water charge].

But the party’s housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis and Dublin South West by-election candidate Cathal King insisted they will fight the charges.

“I intend to fight it all the way,” Mr Ellis told the Irish Independent.

Sinn Fein TD Aengus O Snodaigh said he is “not inclined” to pay the bill on January 1 but he will consult his family before making a decision.

His party colleague Jonathan O’Brien said he has not decided yet if he will boycott the payment.

Since then, however, there has been defeat for the party in the Dublin South West by-election.

The result is a blow to Sinn Féin who had been tipped to take the Dáil seat vacated by Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes after his election to the European Parliament last May.

The campaign was dominated by the water charges debate.

While Sinn Féin gave a commitment to abolish water charges if in government, the party said it would retain the new utility Irish Water and fund it through general taxation. King said he would not be paying his water bill while senior party figures said they would.

The Socialists argued for the outright abolition of Irish Water and called on voters to boycott their water charges and mount a campaign of non-payment.

And, this Saturday, 1 November, mass protests against the water charges in Ireland.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across the country against water charges on Saturday.

Followed by this statement on Sunday, 2 November, from the Deputy’s deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, TD, on her change of mind.

“The Government are not listening. They don’t understand quite how serious this situation is. So as a mark of solidarity I have decided not to pay the water charges.”

All of which preceded today’s, 3 November, change of mind by the Sinn Féin party president…

“Sinn Féin is standing firmly with those families and hard pressed citizens who very simply cannot pay the Government’s water tax. As a mark of solidarity, I have decided that I will not pay this Government’s Water Tax.

And if all that doesn’t bring to mind the possibly apocryphal quote from Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin…

“There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”

Then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din…

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  • Toaster

    Another day, another slugger article criticising Gerry Adams. YAWN

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    This is a right / good / and proper attitude for Gerry Adams and other members of Sinn Fein to refuse this unjust charge-Fine Gael and labour have went to far in saying that they would fine those that can’t / won’t pay-

  • Dixie Elliott

    Who will pay….who won’t pay….

    You put your left arm in,
    Your left arm out:
    In, out, in, out.
    You shake it all about.
    You do the hokey cokey,
    And you turn around.
    That’s what it’s all about!

  • Megatron_


  • Jag

    This is a non-story, Dublin TD Aengus O’Snodaigh previously said he wouldn’t pay. All that’s happened is he’s been joined by more SFers.

    What would be significant would be if SF promoted non-payment by others. That’s the present position of People Before Profit , the socialist party and the Anti Austerity Alliance. SFers have criticised this policy saying that when politicians promoted non-payment before (eg in the 1990s for non-payment of refuse collection.) politicians then deserted citizens when the councils took people to court.

    Will SFers cross that Rubicon and promote non-payment?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Once upon a time in a faraway house in Donegal called Tir na nOg; the Land of the Young, an old man was forced to pay the government water charge.

    While his followers dithered, he dandered off into the woods with Ted to have a picnic.

    An old man shouldn’t have to pay for water in the Land of the Young he told Ted.

    Ted didn’t answer him because he was stuffed.

  • Megatron_

    By the by….there does seem to have been some internal disagreements in SF over this but that couldn’t be true because they are a cult.

  • Belfastboy

    So Mick is censoring pro-SF posters now. Any wonder this site ranked 60th on the Twitter ‘power’ list. 60th. In a tiny island like this, with a dearth of political forums – that’s humiliating!

  • mickfealty

    Nah, it was me not Slugger that was 60th. Slugger’s a fair more erudite fellow, and was up at 46, I think. (Apart from Gerry, who’s a Mexican now) we were one of the few Nordies to make it at all…

    Whose been censored btw?

  • Robin Keogh

    LOL, that made me laff 😉

  • Robin Keogh

    Oh God I am exhausted, if I never paid much attention to SF, simply being a part of the Slugger team would have sorted that out. Some of them will pay others will not. According to MLM they have decided not to pay because of the Taoseachs threat to those who have sworn not to pay. Is it really that big a deal? I certainly wont be paying mine….mind you I just bought a new Gaff and I have me own well…happy days 😉

  • “According to MLM they have decided not to pay because of the Taoseachs threat to those who have sworn not to pay.”

    That’s not part of MLM statement. Nor Gerry’s, for that matter.

  • Jag

    “This is a non-story, Dublin TD Aengus O’Snodaigh previously said he wouldn’t pay. All that’s happened is he’s been joined by more SFers.”
    Try reading the post before commenting.

  • Robin Keogh

    Actually you are off the scale wrong there. MLM said very clearly on RTE yesterday morning – the week in politics – why she had decided not to pay, check it out.

  • Dixie Elliott

    MLM will change her mind as she normally does….let me rephrase that….

    Gerry will change her mind….

  • I’m “off the scale wrong” here? Is it part of MLM’s statement as provided by Sinn Féin?

    If you want to use an alternate source then it’s up to you to provide it.

    While you’re at it, find an alternate source for the reason behind Gerry’s double U-turn.

  • Robin Keogh

    Only after the shadowy backroom men have changed Gerrys ….jesus wept !

  • Robin Keogh

    RTE the week in politics

  • Robin Keogh

    Did you get permission to say that?

  • tmitch57

    You know it is so common to hear Ireland referred to as a tiny island, but if you look at the sample set of all the islands–Ireland is at least a medium-sized island if not a large island. I don’t know if this perception is a tendency to slight their own country or simply the repetition of a cliche.

  • chrisjones2

    Under the GFA and la later versions didn’t SF sign up to abide by the law – all of it

  • chrisjones2

    Come on Robin. Why dont YOU name these guys who really run the party and why are they always in the shadows

  • chrisjones2

    Its very difficult to keep all those houses going on the average industrial; wage

  • chrisjones2


    Sure its just a few more gallons of smuggled diesel or stretch the petrol a bit further so the party can afford it

  • chrisjones2

    …/but there is so much material

  • mickfealty

    Some of us quite fallen asleep yet Robin…

  • mickfealty

    Your picture story on fb would be timely…

  • Robin Keogh

    Are you slightly bonkers Chris?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Er which one Mick?

  • mickfealty

    Water smuggling?

  • Dixie Elliott

    I posted it elsewhere on Slugger Mick

  • Dixie Elliott

    Meanwhile a cunning plan….

  • Stan McGlone

    Oh jaysus come on, sure SF/IRA are whiter than white. The purest of them all. As if they would be involved in crime or auld Gerry being a millionaire. All the money he has made over the years from his books, traveling to America, IRA money and of course the SF shop on the Falls for the tourists.