Sinn Féin proposes Constitutional Referendum to retain water services in public ownership
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has announced that Sinn Féin will use its Dáil time in the next number of weeks to propose that a referendum be held to ensure that control over the water services remains in public ownership. He was speaking ahead of the countrywide mass protests planned for tomorrow, Saturday November 1st to protest against the imposition of water charges.
Deputy Stanley said:
“Our Bill proposes that a referendum be put to the citizens to amend Article 40 of Bunreacht na hÉireann in order to ensure the right of the people to water by retaining public ownership of water services and infrastructure. I attempted to have this included in the legislation which established Irish Water and introduced water charges, but that was opposed by all of the parties; Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil, which supported the establishment of Irish Water.
“We believe that a constitutional guarantee is needed as the current structure and legislation governing the water services would as they stand allow for a future privatisation of the water services in the future, as has happened in other European states with detrimental consequences for domestic users of water.
“This government or a future one could simply pass legislation to allow for privatisation. The only way to prevent this is to change the constitution by referendum. This puts control of this vital resource into the hands of the people.
“Sinn Féin continues to actively oppose water charges. We are central to the Right2Water campaign. If the Government fails to scrap the charge then we will ensure that it is a key issue in the next general election.”