In her 2005 book Earth Democracy Dr Vandana Shiva said, "Without water democracy, there can be no living democracy." We see this sentiment echoed in water struggles all across the planet. Where citizens fight against water privatisation, against water poverty and for water justice, a common theme emerges, crisis's of democracy itself." Ireland is no different.
In 1985 the Government introduced a local-authority domestic-service levy. This included a charge for household waste and domestic water. Attempts by local authorities to reintroduce water charges were met with fierce opposition. There were public protests, a non-payment campaign, and many of those who refused to pay were jailed. In some parts of the country, groups of citizens organised to reconnect supplies where water supply was cut off for non-payment. The opposition continued and in 1996 domestic water charges were abolished entirely, and it was decided that funding for water services was to come from general taxation with £50 million to be ringfenced from motor tax for water services.
In the following years, investment in water services was minimal, and between 2008 and 2013 the Irish Government reduced water funding by 65 %.
Prior to the financial crash, Ireland had 34 local authorities (Municipalities) with responsibility for providing water services. In 2009, the then-Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government announced that water charges were to be reintroduced. They claimed the water infrastructure was in dire need of upgrading and domestic water charging would have to recommence. They contended that domestic charges would fund investment and encourage water conservation.