Right2Water publishes Submission to Expert Commission on Water along with international water advocacy groups

FF water statement “first shot in protracted election campaign which will be dominated by our Right2Water”

Campaign group highlights ‘scandalous’ failure to include social impacts in Commission’s terms of reference

Route for Saturday's National Demonstration published

The Right2Water campaign today (Tuesday September 11th) published its Submission to the Expert Commission on Water at a press conference held to publicise the National Demonstration due to be held in Dublin this coming Saturday. The campaign also published submissions made by the respected Canadian-based Blue Planet Project and the European Water Movement.

In its submission, Right2Water highlights the Government’s failure to include social impacts in the Commission’s terms of reference, and reiterates the campaign’s demand for a referendum to enshrine the water system in public ownership.

Opening the press conference, Unite Political Officer and Right2Water Coordinator Brendan Ogle said:

“As the Government looks increasingly shaky, the decision by a resurgent Fianna Fail to call for charges to be abolished and our water services funded by general taxation in their Submission to the Expert Commission is clearly the first shot in what is likely to be a protracted election campaign dominated by our Right2Water.  Fianna Fail has belatedly recognised the popular demand for abolition, and now it is time for all other parties in Dail Eireann to follow suit.

“The Government’s decision to establish a Commission was a classic case of kicking the can down the road – and the terms of reference were designed to determine the direction of that road.  Not only were they predicated on continued charging – they also, scandalously, omitted any consideration of the social impact of charges and the threat of water poverty”, Mr Ogle said.

Mandate Communications Officer Dave Gibney, also a Right2Water Coordinator, added:

“In our Submission, Right2Water – along with the Blue Planet Project and the European Water Movement – highlighted the international experience of charging as a prelude to privatisation, and reiterated our demand for a referendum to enshrine Ireland’s water system in public ownership.

“Spurious claims that water charges are required by the European Union – and that the Government is therefore powerless to abolish them – ring hollow in light of the Government’s avowed determination to contest the Apple tax ruling. The Government clearly views defence of a basic human right – water – as less important than the defence of corporate interests.

“The Irish public disagrees – and that will become clear this coming Saturday, when we expect tens of thousands to take to the streets again in the 8th National Right2Water demonstration”, Dave Gibney said. 

Concluding the press conference, Brendan Ogle said: “Since August 2014, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of our towns and cities to demand abolition of water charges.  That demand – for abolition, not suspension – remains unchanged. As the Government looks increasingly unstable, all parties would do well to heed the public demand for abolition of water charges and a referendum to enshrine our water in public ownership”.

Note for editors

The 8th Right2Water demonstration will take place on Saturday September 17th.  There will be three assembly points: Sir John Rogerson’s Quay (1.30 pm), Connolly Station (2 pm) and Heuston Station (2 pm).  The three strands of the demonstration will converge at Capel Street and then march along Dame Street/George’s Street/Kevin Street, winding up on St Stephen’s Green South.