The Arrests, Why Now?
When people woke up on Monday morning to the news that 4 people had been arrested – AAA/SP TD Paul Murphy, AAA Cllr Kieran Mahon, AAA Cllr Mick Murphy and the now airbrushed Scott Masterson of Éirigí, there was an initial state of bemusement. Since then more arrests have taken place and more will come in for questioning over the alleged ‘imprisonment’ of Joan Bruton. These events are without a doubt hugely politically motivated.
The question that people need to be asking is why now? The CYM recognise and agree that this has the hallmarks of a maneuver to discredit the R2W and anti-water charges protesters. Tensions will begin to mount among those families, residents and protest groups of the detainees, while the wider movement will rightly condemn these arrests.
It is quite clear that the government’s tactics of trying to appease the public by making changes to the Irish water package have failed, with wide-scale refusal to sign up to Irish water now a reality. These arrests in this context are clearly then a new tactic to try and raise tensions, with the possibility of violence breaking out among the water protesters. These arrests therefore are a new attempt at trying to draw out anti-social behaviors so as to be able to generate headlines, in order to demonise the R2W and anti-water charges movement.
However there is another element to the arrests which the CYM believe has to be raised – the next general election. It is quite clear that the arrests were a very well thought out and orchestrated political stunt, devised by the government, carried out by the Gardai and played out in the media, with the immediate goal of trying to discredit the water campaign among those that are sitting on the fence about it.
CYM pose the question, in whose interests then do these arrests serve? Who is to gain and who will lose? The one thing that is for certain is that Paul Murphy and the Anti Austerity Alliance/Socialist Party have just been gifted a national platform and could not have asked for much more, as their public profile will have skyrocketed from all the media attention.
People may believe that this was a stupid and strange move by the government but actually when you look at who is likely to be hurt the most by a rise in AAA/SP support you have to conclude that it will be Sinn Féin. This episode has been a political exercise in vote splitting in the anti-water charges camp, which in turn will weaken the overall chance for a Sinn Féin led government at the next general election.
There can be no questioning that the Irish state is looking both at the immediate water mobilisation and at the next general election. In both cases they are looking to divide and conquer. In both cases they see a very real threat to their party votes and in terms of the international context they have every reason to fear a mobilisation of people away from the Troika parties.
On this basis the CYM urge those that are engaged and work with R2W, not be tempted to fall into their trap. We urge that R2W protests remain peaceful and that those that try to instigate violence be condemned. Discipline and solidarity is needed by all groups within R2W at this time. The propaganda war will be in full swing and it wont take much to create sensationalist headlines that will look to isolate the protesters from the general public.
The CYM would have hoped that AAA/SP would have extended their solidarity to Éirigí member Scott Masterson, but it seems that by omitting him in their official statements they are taking a narrow party line to advance their position politically. It seems the seeds of division have sprouted stems.