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Government ignores Right2Water at EU Council meeting - Lynn Boylan MEP

25 June, 2018 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Following today’s meeting of the European Environment Ministers in Luxembourg, Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has expressed frustration at the doublespeak from the Minister of the Environment, Denis Naughten, on water.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recast of the Drinking Water Directive which was triggered by the European Citizen's Initiative Right2Water.

Following the meeting, Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan stated:

“All we have heard this morning is doublespeak from Minister Naughten – attempting to spell out how he is in favour of the principle of universal access to water while at the same time arguing that provisions on access within the Directive be deleted.

“On the one hand he states that ‘the principle of universal access to safe and clean drinking water’ is one that he ‘warmly welcomes’ and reminds Ministers of their obligations under the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation. 

"Then he goes on to state that ‘it is not clear what benefit arises from codifying the principle in EU legislation’.

"Is the Minister unaware of this or is he blatantly disregarding the Right2Water petition, which garnered nearly 1.9 million signatures?

“Certain Member States in the Council will be trying their best to delete these provisions from the draft legislation, in order to deny ethnic minorities their rights or to allow the continuation of water disconnections to households. 

"The Minister is clearly misrepresenting the provisions in the Directive regarding access.  

"The reference sets down a principle of water as a human right that should be recognised by all member states but it does not interfere with subsidiarity as it clearly allows Member States flexibility in its implementation. 

“We need an Irish Minister who will strongly defend these provisions, not stand on the side-lines. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and France have already indicated their intention to retain the articles on access to water. 

"Sitting on the fence at this important Council meeting is simply not good enough.

“Last week I wrote to the Minister to urge him to not fail the Irish people at this Council meeting by diluting the provisions on access in this Directive. 

"I am extremely disappointed at his guarded and non-committal remarks today, which will only play into the hands of the Member States that want to continue denying the basic human right of access to water.”


Notes for editor:

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