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Stanley moves Bill to retain water services in public ownership

18 November, 2014 - by Brian Stanley TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, this evening moved a Bill in the Dáil, which if passed, would initiate a referendum proposing to amend the Constitution in order to retain the water services in public ownership.

Deputy Stanley said: “In proposing this Bill, Sinn Féin is seeking to ensure that the water service will not be privatised. When I raised this possibility during the debate last year on the legislation to establish Irish Water, and when I proposed that that legislation include a provision to ensure that there would be no attempt to privatise the new entity, I was told that such an amendment was not required and I was given verbal undertakings that there would be no privatisation of Irish water.

“We propose to amend Article 40 to insert a new Section which reads: “The state recognises the right of all persons to sufficient, safe and accessible water and as guardian of the common good shall defend and vindicate this right and ensure that water services and infrastructure remain in public ownership.”

“We chose to amend this article rather than Article 10, which was another option, as we think that the recognition of access to water as a right is much more fundamental than any economic argument. That is central to the global debate on water which has only in recent decades become a target for corporate adventurers seeking to control what even the most conservative governments have traditionally recognised as a public good, and one which ought where possible be provided to people free of charge.

“Our Bill is about giving back ownership and control of water services and infrastructure to the people. It would guarantee that our water could never come under the control of vulture capitalists or marketers.

“So the message is protect our water infrastructure and keep it in the hands of the people of Ireland and scrap household water charges.”

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