Green Party’s Dan Boyle (left), Eamon Ryan (centre) and Trevor Sargent during the 2011 General Election
Further to the Green Party proposal of a referendum on the public ownership of our water.
Dan Boyle writes:
Public anger and frustration in Ireland at how water is being made available and is expected to be paid for, has come about because no one at a Government level has managed to provided a satisfactory answer as to who is benefitting from this?
As a basic essential of life water should be considered the ultimate public utility. The fear exists that by creating an Irish Water company the government is setting the scene to sell the country’s water infrastructure to the private sector and with that the ability to practically print money by being able to charge the public for the right to use water.
This is why the Green Party is calling on the Government to advance the legislation for a referendum on public ownership of water as a priority, and to ensure that it is included with the Bills already scheduled to be passed in order to hold other referenda in 2015.
Green Party councillors across the country have already submitted motions to their respective councils in Louth, Fingal, Dublin City, Dublin South, Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown, Wicklow and Kilkenny, calling for these councils to support a referendum on the public ownership of water.
The Green Party is proposing the inclusion of the following new Article 10.5 into Bunreacht na hÉireann, which would state:
“The State shall treat drinking water as an essential resource and in the interests of the common good the State shall not provide for the privatisation or commercialisation of water services for the people”.
If Irish Water has been established to rationalise services and provide economies of scale why has it increased the numbers working within it, increasing costs whilst introducing a bonus culture for not its work particularly well?
If introducing water charges in this way through this body is about encouraging water conservation, why are flat rate charges being made, that allow water users use as much water in whatever way they like?
If this method of seeking payment for water is to get consumers to think differently on how water is used, then how come the money isn’t being recycled in grants for householders to develop rainwater collection systems?
By any measure the steps taken by the Irish government on the future use and development of the country’s water infrastructure, with the establishment of the shambolic Irish Water company, is failing on every level. A constitutional provision is necessary to prevent this and any future governments from making any further mistakes.
Dan Boyle is a former TD and Senator.
Sign the petition here
(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)