Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Water privatisation consultation costs ridiculous

9 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Regional Development Spokesperson Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has criticised the Department of Regional Development over revelations that senior management DRD have handed out £460,000 in consultant's fees. The news comes amid increasing concern over the Government‚s plans to plough ahead with its privatisation agenda, in transforming the Water Service into a private company or a Government Owned Company (Go- Co).

Mr McCartney said:

"These huge sums of money have been paid out to consultants as they attempt to legitimise the introduction of water. I am amazed at this news given that ratepayers continue to pay for their water services year on end.

"DRD's recent investment in the development of Waste Water Treatment Works facilities must take place as a matter of legislative priority.

"The imposition of this double levy bears no direct correlation on the need to modernise and develop of our infrastructure, which must be guided by the need for the modernisation and transformation of our public utilities."

By highlighting the spin of Government Ministers on the proposed charge, the Sinn Fein Member stated very clearly the legislative guidelines, which must be introduced as per European law:

"The EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, The Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC and the Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment bear no impact on forcing communities to pay for delivery, management, maintenance and access to Water provision. While Article 9 of the Water Framework Directive requires Members States to have water pricing policies in place by 2010 - this does not provide evidence to push forward a privatisation agenda. The Domestic Rate has been in place for decades, we do not need to pay twice for water services."

Mr McCartney will lead a party delegation to Stormont to raise this issue along with major infrastructure issues affecting the North in the comming weeks. He commented that Sinn Fein would do all in within its power to reverse the privatisation agenda, which is the preferred route for Direct Rule Government Department policy makers.

"The deficit facing the Six Counties vis-à-vis Water and Sewerage Treatment is a direct result of decades of neglect, under investment and the negligence of successive British Administrations to modernise and upgrade such an essential and key service - our Water service. Government attempts to align or marry the issue of providing clean drinking water and paying for the privilege are criminally misleading. Our Communities have been funding the Water / Sewerage infrastructure through Domestic rate payments and via the taxation system for the previous 40 years." ENDS

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