Media ‘stirred up civil disobedience’ with water charges

The media stirred up civil disobedience in relation to water charges, according to Cork Fine Gael TD Jim Daly, who said RTÉ advertised protests as if they were St Patrick’s Day parades.

Media ‘stirred up civil disobedience’ with water charges

Mr Daly told the Patricia Messenger Show on C103 the media was “overly enthusiastic” in relation to publicising water charges protests.

“The media, particularly RTÉ, really went to town at the time as well on the water charges issues. And when I think of the time when they were on RTÉ’s website putting up all the lists of protests and the times they were happening as if they were Patrick’s Day parades. These were protests and gatherings for people to be disobedient but they were really being egged on by a very enthusiastic media.”

He put it down to protesters being encouraged as the media were bored of reporting on a Government with a massive majority.

He also accepted the Irish Water issue was “too rushed as the troika were in town”.

“There was an over- enthusiastic embracing of it by the minister of the time, Phil Hogan, and indeed the government of the time. There is no doubt we tried to achieve way too much, too quickly, too soon. I was reading the timeline of the events to date for Irish Water and from 2013 to have it set up in January 2014 — the amount of huge debts. It really was too much. And people were on their knees in the midst of austerity.”

However, water charges protester John O’Donovan refuted any suggestion that the media overly assisted anti-water charges campaigners.

“This story became the biggest story in the country. And people thought this story would maybe disappear overnight.

“RTÉ had to cover the marches and what they did show on the screen actually was [a case] of if you blink you would miss it. Overall we didn’t get a fair share of the whip.”

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