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Water must remain in public ownership – Ó Clochartaigh

10 December, 2013

Speaking in the Seanad today during amendments to the Water Services Bill 2013, Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said:

“The Government is clearly intent on privatization of Irish water.

“Sinn Fein is opposed to the privatization of Irish water and to any changes that facilitate this process.

“We are firmly of the view that water is an important public utility and that as such it should remain in public ownership.

“Currently there are 34 local authorities supplying water to nearly two million households. Sinn Féin agrees that there is a need for better coordination but this Bill is not the way forward.

“The proposals to install water meters and charge households for water was dreamt up by Fianna Fail and brought to life by Fine Gael and supported by the Labour Party – all parties that are now, one way or another, wedded to privatization.

“It had been stated from the outset that the Local Authorities would continue to provide the infrastructure and operational activity to deliver the service to the public.

“This was to reflect “an enduring partnership” between both. This is not reflected in the legislation.

“Instead this Bill is designed to prepare the Irish water system for eventual privatization.

“Sinn Féin is opposed to the establishment of Irish Water and to the confiscation and transfer of public assets.

“The transfer seriously diminishes the role of elected Councils and all but eliminates democratic accountability especially at the local level over the provision of a vital public service.”

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