Northern Ireland: We Won’t Pay Campaign conference prepares for water charges

For democratically-organised, mass non-payment

The first conference of the ‘We wont Pay Campaign’ was held, last Saturday, on 10 March, in Belfast. It was a highly successful meeting, held in the run up the imposition of water charges, beginning 1 April. Over 150 people attending from all areas of Belfast and surrounding towns and villages.

Paul Dale, Chairperson of the Campaign, opened the conference, emphasising the escalating impetus of the “We wont Pay Campaign” The two invited speakers, Clare Daly, Socialist Party councillor and anti-water charges activist from Dublin, and Steve Score, ex-Secretary of the Leicestershire Anti-Poll Tax Federation, in Britain, gave excellent accounts of their involvement in their respective campaigns. Both speakers relayed essential tactical and strategic lessons for the non-payment campaign, emphasising the importance of building strong roots and links in all communities.

Gary Mulcahy Secretary of the We Won’t Pay Campaign reported on the current legal state of affairs around non-payment. Gary said “The introduction of water charges was not about improving the infrastructure but was about privatisation”

Discussion and de bate from the floor was lively. People needed clarification on issues and raised the concerns of local communities.

Two motions were put for discussion. The first was proposal was to have a major demonstration in Belfast on the 31 March, the day before the introduction of water charges, openly inviting all trade unions, groups and activists who support non-payment. The second motion called for unity to build a mass non-payment campaign that was membership-based and democratically organised in local communities. Both motions were resoundingly endorsed and passed unanimously by the conference.

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March 2007