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Emma Murphy - Fresh, free water is a basic right

8 February, 2014


"Water charges are just another tax on workers on top of PAYE, PRSI and levies" 

It's not a remarkable turn of phrase, it's sentiments can be heard the length and breath of the island, in any shop, bar or home any day of the week, by any man or woman. 

What is remarkable about the phrase, however, is who said it. Those words were spoken in the late 1990's by a T.D for Dún Laoghaire. I forget what party he was in at the time as he has jumped from so many during the course of his career. I am of course referring to the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, but whatever it was that made Gilmore change his mind, it is us the ordinary men and women of Ireland who will have to pick up the tab and pay in full, "this latest tax on workers and citizens" as he called it. 

And let us be clear in our message, no one will be exempt from this new charge; the pensioner, the widower, the single parent, the working family, citizens already crippled with college fees, mortgages and health costs, all now, will be compelled to pay for what many of us see as one of our island's greatest, natural resources, water. 

We all know that some services need to be paid for, that goes with out question, but to turn water into yet another commodity, like gas, petrol or coal, to transform it from a necessity into a luxury is an abhorrence on our people that must be stopped. 

We cannot and will not accept a situation where some households are compelled to ration water as they already do with gas, electricity and food. 

Fresh, free running water is a basic right for our people, and we in Sinn Féin are committed to making sure it stays that way. 

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Mary Lou McDonald TD