Alliance seeks to abolish water charges

An alliance of opposition TDs seeking to abolish water charges intend to force parties and other deputies to stand up to their election promises on Irish Water in a planned Dáil motion.

Anti-water charge politicians are also targeting Fianna Fáil for support in their efforts to get the private Dáil motion debated about scrapping water charges.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett confirmed that several parties are expected to sign up to the motion, which is being pushed inside and outside Leinster House.

The intention is to “name and shame” TDs or parties who used their opposition to water charges to get elected but then failed to support the motion.

Joint discussions have already been held between PBP, its aligned party the Anti-Austerity Alliance, Sinn Féin, and the new group of the Independents for Change, which amounts to 33 TDs in total.

Other left-wing TDs are in talks about the motion with the anti-water alliance, which believes the Social Democrats may be interested in coming on board.

Mr Boyd Barrett said: “There was a meeting of the Right2Change political affiliates a number of weeks ago after the election, who agreed to co-author the motion.

“We will be meeting the unions [involved] over the next week to pin this down. The principle is to mount a motion, to have a united front, on the basis of we were elected with the pledge to abolish charges.”

Right2Change activists and trade union leaders Brendan Ogle and David Gibney are involved in driving efforts for the motion outside of Leinster House.

Mr Boyd Barrett said the motion would be drafted in such a way as to receive as much support as possible.

Fianna Fáil will also be targeted to join the motion.

“With them supporting and left-wing TDs, we would clearly have a majority in the Dáil,” said Mr Boyd Barrett. “The concern would be that Fianna Fáil might drop their commitment to scrap charges in a possible government. We need to encourage them to stick to it.”

It is unclear whether the motion being drafted across parties will call for a referendum on ensuring water utilities, supplies, and services remain in public ownership and whether it will call for Irish Water itself to be closed or replaced.


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