Stanley dismisses Government plebiscite pledge
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, has dismissed the Government’s pledge to hold a plebiscite in the event of a proposed privatisation of the water services as meaningless. He was speaking at the conclusion of the Dáil debate on the Sinn Féin Bill which proposes to hold a referendum on the issue.
Deputy Stanley said:
“Inserting an amendment to have a plebiscite in the event of a proposal to privatise the water service would act as no guarantee even that a plebiscite would be held.
“Any Government which had made up its mind to sell off the water services would simply have to again amend the relevant legislation to remove the commitment to hold such a plebiscite.
“That means that the only way to guarantee that privatisation is prevented would be to hold the referendum that we propose. That would be the most, indeed the only, democratic means to settle the issue. The simple question would be put: Do people want the Irish water system in remain in public ownership, or would they like to see it sold off to a private company?
“I suspect people can guess what the Government’s response to that might be. The only conclusion is that they would not in fact object to selling off the water services at some future date. The evidence would certainly point to that, and the Labour party appears to be happy to support once again leaving the door open to another part of the neo-liberal agenda. At least Fine Gael are ideologically honest in that regard in refusing to approve of something that goes against that agenda. I am not certain what the Labour party’s excuse is.”