Union warns battle for full abolition and referendum continues
Jimmy Kelly welcomes signs of political realignment
April 28th: Unite, as a key component of the Right2Water campaign and water movement, today congratulated the thirty-nine members of Dail Eireann who have placed a bill before the house seeking the abolition of Irish Water, the creation of a single national water and sanitation board and a referendum to allow the citizens the opportunity to enshrine public ownership of our public water system in the Constitution.
Commenting on reports that Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are close to agreeing a deal which will see water charges suspended while a commission examines the future of Irish water and the funding model, followed by a Dail vote, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said the proposals represent what he termed a “significant milestone on the road to victory”.
Mr. Kelly said that the increased political cohesion among TDs opposing the outgoing Government’s regressive and wasteful water charges regime has been a key factor in holding Fine Gael to democratic account.
“The fact that negotiations have been focussed on the future of Irish Water and the charging regime is testament to the determination shown by the hundreds of thousands of people who came out onto the streets to voice their right to water, as well as the communities up and down the country who mobilised locally. It is also testament to the cohesion and unity of purpose demonstrated by thirty-nine TDs who tabled a bill in the Dail seeking the abolition of Irish Water, the creation of a single national water and sanitation board, and a referendum to enshrine public ownership of water in the Constitution. That unity is a welcome sign of political realignment.
“With over 90 TDs having been elected on a platform of opposition to water charges, it is obvious that there is no democratic mandate to continue imposing this double tax. There is clearly a growing acceptance of this within the political establishment – although some have accepted it more reluctantly and much less graciously than others.
“The proposals emerging from the negotiations are a significant milestone on the road to victory – but the battle for full abolition of water charges coupled with a referendum to ensure that water remains in public ownership continues”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.