From top: Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness and Brendan Ogle
Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness and Brendan Ogle, of trade union Unite and campaign group Right2Water, spoke to RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke this morning about Irish Water.
The discussion followed reports that legal advice – commissioned by Irish Water’s parent company Ervia – apparently shows water charges can’t be abolished.
At the beginning of the interview on Today with Seaán O’Rourke, Mr Ogle accused Irish Water of selectively leaking the legal advice to a national newspaper (Irish Times), before calling on Irish Water to publish the reported legal advice on its website today.
From the interview…
Mairead McGuinness: “The privatisation issue which Brendan raises is for ideological and political reasons and I said earlier, we have politicised this issue far too much. There are over 60% of people paying their charges, it is controversial, I understand that but remember that those who obeyed the law will continue to obey the law and should be respected for it.
And, certainly from a Fine Gael perspective, our position on the water, Irish Water, and charging for water, is clear: I acknowledge that the handling of it may not have been the best of practices but we now have a structure in place which knows what’s happening above ground and below ground. And believe me, it is not pretty. We know where the investment needs to be made and we know where we need to protect our water sources and I think, if that were to be interrupted and interfered with we are going back decades and I think that would be reprehensible.”
Brendan Ogle: “Well the water notices were dealt with in Roscommon through paying progressive general taxation. There is no doubt that water notices are a disgrace, we need more investment, we need to fix the system and the way to fix the system is not to be spending €2.6billion over the next number of years on meters, it’s to put that money into fixing the leaks, protect the water in the constitution and me and Mairéad will agree on all of that. Stop wasting money on meters, stop wasting money on legal advisors, stop wasting money on public relations, put the money into fixing the leaks and protect water in public ownership.”
Listen back in full here