Right2Water calls on all politicians to support Dail motion

Campaign issues warning to Fianna Fail on water charges U-turn

The Right2Water Trade Unions have called on all politicians who ran on a platform of opposition to water charges to abide by their pre-election promises and support a motion to abolish domestic water charges and hold a referendum to enshrine the public ownership of water services in the constitution.

The joint motion put forward by all 40 of the Right2Water TD’s – including Sinn Fein, AAA/PBP, Independents4Change, the Social Democrats and a number of Independent TD’s – is expected to be discussed in the Dail over the coming weeks.

The Right2Water campaign says it is vital that all other politicians uphold their democratic mandate.

Brendan Ogle, Right2Water spokesperson said: “We are giving all politicians fair warning on this one. The previous government lost 50pc of their seats in the election a number of weeks ago, and much of that was down to their introduction of water charges.”

He added, “The Labour Party made a pre-election promise ahead of the 2011 elections that they would oppose water charges but they instead reneged on that promise. They went from 37 TD’s in 2011 to just 7 now, an 81pc reduction. Fine Gael lost 26 of their seats. The same future awaits any other party that ignores the will of the people and ploughs ahead with water charges without a mandate.”

The Right2Water campaign says there are at least 97 TD’s who campaigned for the abolition of water charges ahead of the election and the continuation of water charges after this result would be a subversion of democracy.

David Gibney, Right2Water spokesperson said, “Fianna Fail know the power and strength of the water movement and that’s why they put into their manifesto the abolition of Irish Water and the ending of domestic water charges. There was no equivocation in it. No mention of suspensions or larger allowances.”

He added, “It’s very clear there’s a powerful lobby in favour of water charges, which has been evident over the last few weeks, but we all know the reason for that. The end goal of this policy – which is centered on the installation of water meters – is the privatization of our water services and the vultures are circling. Without the metering, there can be no profits to be made from the industry and that’s why Fine Gael are insisting that water metering continues.”

He explained, “Water is now the most profitable commodity on the planet outside of financial services. While Fine Gael and others say it’s not about privatization, they steadfastly refuse to hold a referendum, which would kill off that inevitable outcome.”

Mr Ogle added, “If Fine Gael were concerned about conservation, they would immediately end the metering process which is expected to cost €2.6bn over the next five years and instead start fixing the leaks and incentivizing water saving devices for households. Attempting to introduce water poverty to Ireland is not what the people of Ireland want.”

Right2Water say they will be watching the outcome of the discussions between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and the campaign says it will ensure all political parties are held to account if water charges remain.

Mr Gibney concluded, “We will be watching this motion very carefully and we will communicate with our supporters over the coming days about it too. We don’t know how long this next government will last, but we promise that the anti-water charges movement will hold all politicians accountable at the next election if they renege on their pre-election promises.”

Right2Water has now held seven national demonstrations, which have been some of the largest protests in the history of the State.