On Saturday April 8th, the Right2Water Campaign are giving one final push with another National Demonstration before April’s Oireacthas Water Committee Meeting whose recommendations will decide if water charges are scrapped or retained.
The last demonstration in September saw crowds of 80,000+ take to the streets of Dublin in yet another Mass Protest to Abolish Unfair Water Charges.
Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne is urging those of you who oppose water charges to “get out and support this event”. She says “Nothing but the full and complete abolition of water charges, and the dismantling of Irish Water, will satisfy the democratic wishes of the Irish people. We have had an election that returned a majority of TDs who ran on a platform of ending water charges. The time has come for those TD’s to stand to their mandate.”
The rally will assemble at 2pm at both Connolly Station, and Heuston Station in Dublin.
Pictured above is Sinn Féin Councillors Joanna Byrne and Kenneth Flood leading a strong Sinn Fein contingence from Louth at the last R2W Rally in September.
Pictured right is Cllr Joanna Byrne
Speaking today, Munster said “these cuts are due to come in on 2nd July and there will be around 12,000 families affected. If these cuts go ahead, it will mean a cut of an average of €86 per week and these are families that are already struggling to cope. This will drive many more below the poverty line and as always, it is the children that will suffer”.
Recent CSO figures show that 63% of lone parent families are living without basic necessities.
Imelda Munster, who was selected as a Sinn Féin candidate for the next general election was also critical of Minister Joan Burton’s failure to keep a promise on childcare. “Most of these 12,000 families are already working and Joan Burton promised that these cuts would not be enacted without affordable childcare and afterschool care. This has not been done and now here we are with less than a month to go and absolutely no sign of any of these provisions. It is at the stage where lone parents will be driven away from paid work because of these cuts”.
Cllr Munster said “We in Sinn Féin have launched a postcard campaign and are asking everyone to get involved. This postcard is addressed to Joan Burton who instigated the cuts. It highlights the difficulties these families face and urges the Tánaiste to reverse the cuts immediately. There is still time to row back. The cost of not doing so will be huge.”
Yesterday, Drogheda Councillor Kenneth Flood and Dublin Councillor Greg Kelly joined Emma Sloan’s mother and friends as they handed in a petition with over 115,000 names which were collected over the summer under the Emma’s Voice Campaign.
The Campaign was named after 14 year old Emma Sloan who tragically died on O’Connell Street, Dublin in December last year after her mother was refused an EpiPen by a pharmacist as she didn’t have Emma’s prescription with her.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It may start suddenly within seconds or minutes, or take a few hours to develop following contact with an allergen which is a substance that is capable of producing an allergic reaction. A severe anaphylactic reaction is sometimes known as anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis can cause the blood pressure to drop quickly, resulting in fainting or even sustained loss of consciousness. It can also cause severe breathing difficulties.
Councillor Kenneth Flood has been working tirelessly on this issue since Emma’s death. Kenneth said “I asked one of our Councillors, Edel Corrigan, to put forward a motion in February this year which she did and the motion was passed. The motion was ‘calling on the HSE and the Minister ‘to ensure legislation and codes of practice be put in place to ease the restrictions on the availability of Epinephrine auto injectors (commonly known as EpiPens) and other Anaphylaxis medicines.’ I had not been elected at that time.”
Dublin Councillor Greg Kelly who was present yesterday got a similar motion passed in Dublin Council.
Flood continued, “I have been in regular contact with Emma’s mother Caroline and Gerry Adams TD and I have met with her to get legislation in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Caroline is to be commended for everything she has achieved so far. She described herself to me as ‘an ordinary mother’ and yet she is anything but.”
The Drogheda Councillor explained “following PQs submitted by Gerry Adams TD, the HSE confirmed there were just under 10,000 citizens with EpiPens taking part in the Community Drug Scheme. Full statistics were not available so this could be just the tip of the iceberg. We all seem to know someone who needs to carry these EpiPens so the danger is more common than you would think.”
“This recent development in the campaign is a huge step forward for anyone who is vulnerable to Anaphylaxis. Minister Varadkar has committed to big changes in the next six months which includes educating and providing more information on EpiPens and making them more freely available with people trained in how to use them. The Minister also spoke about grouping this training with training on other injectables such as diabetes medications etc.
“Sinn Féin are delighted this campaign has achieved so much over this past year. We want to thank everyone who was involved and especially Caroline Sloan for her persistence and want her to know that we will continue to support her and the campaign until such times as we see a change in legislation that will hopefully prevent further deaths like that of Emma.”