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Lynn Boylan MEP addresses Italian debate on human Right2Water

5 April, 2016 - by Lynn Boylan MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan was today in Rome to address a debate on the human right to water organised by the Italian Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

‘As the author of the Right2Water European Citizens Initiative report in the European Parliament, which condemned the European Commission for ignoring the will of the citizens on water issues, I was pleased to have the opportunity to put forward the arguments in favour of EU recognition of the Human Right to Water.

‘The very first successful European Citizens Initiative, on the Right2Water managed to attract nearly two million signatures and demanded a recognition of the human right to water and an end to liberalisation of water services  demonstrating the clear importance citizens from right across Europe attach to water issues.

Unfortunately however, the European Commission has chosen to ignore the concerns of the grassroots water movement and has been utterly silent since the report was passed last September.

‘It is essential that water and social movements from across Europe continue to put the pressure on the EU to enshrine the human right to water in legislation, keep water and sanitation services out of trade deals and to stop pushing a privatisation agenda.

‘In 2011, Italy granted a referendum on water management to its citizens, and of those who voted, a staggering 96% were in favour of keeping Italian water and sanitation services in public hands. 

Whilst much more needs to be done to implement this clear signal from the Italian public, it was nevertheless an important first step which Ireland has been consistently denied. Of course Italy had at least voted in favour of water as a human right at the UN in 2010, whilst Ireland’s coalition government of Fianna Fáil and the Greens shamefully abstained.

‘Irish Water and its charges should be scrapped. The Irish government has shown its cards by not allowing a referendum on banning future privatisation of the utility and their reluctance to do so has worrying repercussions for the future of water ownership in Ireland.’

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