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Lynn Boylan MEP addresses European Water Movement Conference

24 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has addressed the European Water Movement Conference today in Brussels.

Ms Boylan spoke about the Right2Water demonstration that took place in Dublin last weekend. She also used the opportunity to speak about the Right2Water report she is currently penning for the EU Parliament.

"In my home country, Ireland, we saw 80,000 citizens marching through the streets of Dublin last Saturday morning on the issue of water, and not for the first time.

I've often heard the rumour that the Irish simply don’t want to pay for water and sanitation services, that they simply don’t understand that these things cost money. It’s far from the truth.

We pay for water firstly through general taxation and then part of our motor tax is also meant to go to water services.

Given the importance of this issue for my party Sinn Féin and the Irish citizens, I was especially keen to be the author on the report in the European Parliament on the follow up to the European Citizen’s Initiative on the Right2Water.

In my report, I draw attention to the fact that water provision is a natural monopoly which does not lend itself to market competition and where there has been privatisation of water ownership we have seen massive profits accumulated but little reinvestment into water infrastructure.

It is the failure of successive Irish governments to ring-fence money for water infrastructure – a mistake they now want the public to pay for.

Right to water is a right that should be protected as a human right and therefore should have constitutional protection. We have seen moves towards this stance across Europe.

Brian Hayes has said it would be bizarre to have a referendum on water ownership yet this conference has heard of examples of such referendums across Europe.

So not only is he removed from the reality of the struggling families back in Ireland but clearly he hasn't got his finger on the pulse in Europe either!

His government colleagues, after spending €85 million on private consultancy fees, a whopping €650,000 euros on a self-promoting ad and now that they government have decided to go flat rate, a wasted €539 million on pointless meters – it is no wonder the Irish people have had enough.

This is coupled with reports that the Minister of Environment, Alan Kelly will be bringing in vicious compliance measures which will see unpaid water charges being drawn from people’s wages and pensions.

Irish people have suffered enough under Labour austerity policies and do not deserve to be threatened in this way.


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