Article from the November 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Water Charges - Consultation sham!
ONLY DAYS after the 150-page Draft Priorities and Budget was published, the government have called "public consultation meetings" to "listen" to the views of the people. What a joke! The meetings were only advertised on a government website in small writing. No ads were placed in the local press or on local radio. And most of the meetings will be held at 9 o'clock in the morning, when most people are at work!
Socialist Party members showed up at the meetings held in Limavady (which was supposed to cover people from Derry, Coleraine and other towns across the North-West) and Omagh. Not one member of the public was at the meeting in Limavady!
One member of the public in Omagh arrived at the meeting after being told about it an hour beforehand.
Kevin Henry, a Socialist Party member in Omagh refused to put up with this farce and disrupted the meeting. Kevin told the Socialist: "I disrupted the meeting to ask why the people of Omagh were not told about this meeting. It is obvious they had no intention of 'consulting' with us. They only had 15 chairs at the meeting!"
Come along and protest
The Socialist Party is calling on people to turn up and protest at the other "consultations" to expose the sham of this whole exercise and to let Peter Hain's lackies know what we think about his budget. The venues and dates are:
- 16 November, Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen. 9.00am - 1.00pm
- 22 November, Armagh City Hotel, Armagh. 9.00am - 1.00 pm
- 1 December, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast. 9.00am - 1.00pm