Irish people want water and its infrastructure in public ownership - Louise O'Reilly TD
Speaking from Leinster House tonight regarding the Bill calling for a referendum to insert public ownership of water services into the constitution, Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly said;
"When we look at the issue of Irish water and water ownership, we cannot forget that the Irish people voted for the abolition of water charges. They did not vote for suspension. They did not vote for kicking the can down the road. They did not vote for more meetings, more hearings, more reports.
"Let’s be very, very clear on this issue: The Irish people have never and will never vote to support water charges. They do not want water poverty in the future; They do not want a private entity to make decisions on whether they can access water in the future. They want to retain water and its infrastructure in public ownership.
"I reject wholeheartedly when parties in this chamber skew the debate to say that no water charges means no upgrades to outdated water and sanitation infrastructure. The reason systems are in need of dire upgrade is because of chronic neglect and famine of investment by those very political players.
"Do you think that private entities will be concerned about ensuring first class infrastructure?
"Do you think that there will be concerns about the public good should a private body get its grubby hands on Irish water? I think not. Profit is their number one priority. Not me, not you, not the people we represent. Just the hard cash in our pocket and how they can extract it from us and make as much of it as possible. These are the facts.
"If the Government are concerned about citizens, human rights and equality, then they need to support this Bill and expedite the process towards referendum.
"For once in this term, the Government need to take the bull by the horns and make a decision and not defer it, kick it into an assembly or committee or commission a report."