Government dragging their feet on water referendum – Denise Mitchell TD
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North Denise Mitchell has criticised the Government over elements of the Water Services Bill which could allow for the reintroduction of water charges within five years.
Speaking in the Dáil tonight Deputy Mitchell noted that under the Bill, after five years the Minister has the power to reduce the free water allowance per household.
Teachta Mitchell said;
"According to this Bill, the allowance is only going one way – and that is down. This means that in five years’ time, we could be back in this chamber discussing why water charges are making a comeback.
“This is a loophole to allow the gradual introduction of water charges down the road. The people marched in their tens of thousands and made it very clear that they will not accept water charges.
Deputy Mitchell also criticised the failure of the Government to include provision for a referendum on the public ownership of Ireland’s water system:
“We were promised a referendum on retaining water services in public ownership. This Bill does not contain anything of the sort.
“I am getting the impression that the Government is intentionally dragging their feet on this matter. The referendum needs to happen.
“The right to water and the public ownership of our water services needs to be enshrined in the constitution to ensure that there is no way that the State’s water network will be sold-off to a private for-profit operator.”