Fianna Fáil Cave in on Water Charges Assisted by Labour and the Greens—Water Charges Can Now Be Phased back in to Operation over Time, Probably After the Next General Election!
Fianna Fáil yesterday voted against several amendments to the recommendations on water charges which Fianna Fáil, itself, proposed last week.
On all key row-back amendments, the Labour Party, the Greens and Noel Grealish (IND) voted with FF and Fine Gael at the Committee
Then the Labour Party and the Greens, hard-line supporters of charging for water generally, cynically voted against the final report
Seamus Healy TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Sinn Fein and Solidarity voted against all FF U-turns and against the final report.
However, it is important to recognise that gains won by anti-water charge campaigners are retained. There will be no immediate return to general water charges. Those who didn’t pay will not be pursued and those who did pay will receive refunds. The metering of additional existing and unrefurbished dwellings remains halted. The anti-water charges campaign has also achieved an increased allowance for those on group schemes.
The recommendation that a referendum be held to change the constitution to prevent privatisation of water services, also, remains.
However the U-turn amendments make domestic water a tradeable commodity under EU Law. Payment for excessive use to Irish Water Ltd. commodifies water. This facilitates the phasing back in of water charges over time. Government can reduce the free allowance thus making increasing amounts of water chargeable. This may also be used to prevent the holding of the anti-privatisation referendum or to change the wording as new private suppliers of water are entitled to enter the market under EU Competition Law. This was facilitated by FF agreeing with FG that the abolition of Irish Water LTD. Would be outside the terms of reference of the Oireachtas Committee
In addition, FF have also conceded that metering of new builds and refurbishments will continue in a further U-turn
Fianna Fáil has proven again that it cannot be trusted.
We will campaign with the same vigour against these U-turns as we campaigned for the gains already achieved.
We Already Pay For Water. We will not pay a second time.
Fine Gael, the Endapendents, Labour, the Greens, and indeed Fianna Fáil must not be allowed to restore water charges. They will also attempt to increase PAYE and VAT to make us pay for water a second time. We are already paying for water services through existing general taxation. But the money has been diverted to other purposes including tax concessions to the very rich.
We are already paying by law. After the humiliation of Fine Gael, Labour and Workers Party candidates by anti-water charges campaigner Joe Higgins in the 1996 bye-election, Brendan Howlin from the then FG-Lab-WP government abolished water charges and transferred the cost on to motor tax and other existing duties and fees in the 1997 Act.
There is no technical difficulty in retrieving this money for water services by imposing additional taxes on the massive incomes and financial assets Irish super-rich. But Fine Gael and the Endapendents, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Greens steadfastly refuse to tax this huge wealth.
The shares and bank deposits of the Irish super-rich are now worth 35 Billion Euro more than at peak boom level in 2006 and 70 billion above “bust” level in 2008. These huge gains are due to the sacrifices and the hardship endured by the blameless majority. When all wealth is considered, the richest 300 Irish People have total assets of 100.03 Billion Euro, a gain of 12 billion in the past year according to the Sunday Independent. That is an average of 333 million each.
It is time the super-rich gave back something. I will be advocating in the Dáil that significant taxes be imposed on these assets to pay for improved public services
There must be no increase in taxation such as PAYE, VAT or Motor Tax etc to make us pay for water a second time.
I will also be advocating at the legislative stage in the Dáil that Irish Water Ltd be abolished and its functions returned to local authorities and the Department of the Environment.
We must remain organised in the Right2Water Campaign. Fine Gael and the Endapendents, Fianna Fáil, Labour, and the Greens are hell bent on using water charges and additional taxation to soak the citizens generally in order to protect the massive incomes and assets of the Irish Super-Rich.
Let us continue to resist this agenda!
Bí Ullamh! Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile !
Seamus Healy T.D. 12/4/2017
Tel 087 2802199
From Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199
ON THE BRINK OF VICTORY ON WATER CHARGES!
BUT FINE GAEL, LABOUR AND THE GREENS STAND IN THE WAY
LET US PUSH IT OVER THE LINE ON SATURDAY NEXT!
APRIL 8th FEET ON THE STREET IN DUBLIN!
BUSES will run from Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir to Dublin for the Right2Water National Demonstration on Saturday 8th April 2017 returning immediately after the demonstration.
We will also run buses from Nenagh and Roscrea
The bus from Nenagh will leave Banba Square at 9am and the bus from Roscrea will leave Abbey Hall at 9.30am
The bus fare will be a subsidised fee of €5 return.
Please telephone 052 6121883 to book your place and for more information.
SIGN THE PETITION NOW: https://goo.gl/Ai1pDe
On Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, the Joint Committee on Water will vote on whether they recommend water charges for “excessive use.” This will be a Trojan Horse for bringing in full water charges at a later date.
So far 10 members of the 20 person water committee have committed to scrapping water charges and ending the domestic metering process. If one more member abstains or votes to scrap the charges, the Dail will be instructed to end metering and end water charges for good.
We’re asking people to contact two members of the Committee who may support our position.
Senator Grace O’Sullivan of the Civic Engagement Group and Deputy Noel Grealish, Independent TD for Galway West.
We must convince these members to vote to scrap water charges:
1. If metered charges continue, eventually allowances will be reduced and full water charges will be introduced in time – meaning Ireland would have water poverty for the first time in our history.
2. Irish people are not wasteful with their water. In fact, we use less water than almost any other country in the EU consuming 25% less water than countries like the UK where they’ve had metered charges for almost 30 years.
3. There is a real problem with leaks in the system but only 3% of leaks come from the household side of the infrastructure. Funding should be directed to the public side where 97% of water is being leaked and also to district metering which could identify leaks.
4. A metering process for ‘excessive use’ makes no economic sense. Firstly, the ‘expert commission’ on water said there is no identifiable excessive use and using their formula for charging for excessive use would mean spending up to €300 million on a metering programme for a return of €27 million. This is a waste of valuable taxpayers money and would divert money from upgrading the real infrastructural problems.
5. The real agenda behind water charges is privatisation. Should the metering process continue, there is no doubt that our water would be privatised in the future.
6. Article 1.9 of the CETA international trade agreement could provide for the privatisation of our water in the future and having meters in place would facilitate this.
7. Two thirds of the Irish public voted for politicians who declared opposition to water charges. This is backed up by the Irish Times MRBI poll which shows that 64% of the population want the charges scrapped while only 34% want them continued. It is time to do the democratic will of the Irish electorate.
For these reasons and more water charges must be abolished.
We need you to contact Senator Grace O’Sullivan and Deputy Noel Grealish and demand they abstain or vote to end water charges for good.
Noel Grealish TD – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
Senator Grace O’Sullivan – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
As Senator Grace O’Sullivan is representing the Civic Engagement Group on the Water Committee, it is important that we tell the other members of the Committee to support our call. The full Civic Engagement Group includes:
Alice Mary Higgins – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
Collette Kelleher – Colette.firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:Colette.email@example.com>
Frances Black – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
Lynn Ruane – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
John Dolan – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
Please sign this petition and share with everyone you know. We only have days to protect our human right to water and prevent privatisation and future water poverty.