Nearly 40 TDs sign up to bill calling for referendum on public ownership of Irish Water

Almost 40 TDs have signed up to a bill calling for a referendum enshrining the public ownership of water in the Irish Constitution.

David Gibney of Right2WaterIreland told the Irish Examiner that Dublin South-Central Joan Collins TD will present a bill this autumn.

“We are launching a campaign calling for a referendum enshrining public ownership of water in the Constitution,” he said.

“Joan Collins will present the bill, and so far it has been signed up to by almost 40 TDs.

“We need Fianna Fáil TDs to sign up to it. They campaigned vehemently against water charges in the lead-up to the general election.”

However, Mr Gibney pointed out that while there was currently an expert commission in place looking at water funding, the referendum is about a different issue entirely.

“The referendum is not about water charges. It’s about whether a public or private entity is running our water [service],” said Mr Gibney.

He was speaking after a Right2WaterIreland meeting in Dublin yesterday.

The group met ahead of the next scheduled water demonstration, on September 17.

Joan Collins
Joan Collins

The last demonstration had been held on February 20, before the general election.

The planned march will coincide with ten demonstrations that are being carried out across 10 German cities on the same day.

“One of the reasons we are holding this demonstration is because of basic democracy,” said Mr Gibney. “Almost 70% of TDs, when they were canvassing, gave a mandate to unequivocally abolish Irish Water.

“But this has been kicked down the road with a so-called water commission.”

Another reason for the September 17 demonstration is the matter of taxation.

Mr Gibney believes that there is an agenda in Ireland where private companies are promoted and this is done in a way that allows them to avoid paying tax.

Mr Gibney said it was about “benefiting a private cohort of people”, and that this was happening with the privatisation of water.

He pointed out that water is currently the most profitable consumer good in the world outside of the financial services.

“In the UK, since 1989 when water was privatised, the cost per household has gone up by 350%, double that of the UK price index,” said Mr Gibney.

The demonstration will have three meeting points in Dublin in two weeks’ time.

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