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.
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.
I was present at the founding meeting of the Right2Water campaign in 2014 in Leinster House and I was present again today in Leinster House at the Oireachtas Water Committee meeting when it became clear that a majority of members are now in favour of abolishing these water charges and are also opposed to any charge for so called “excessive use” of water.
Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Irish people took to the streets to defeat this unfair double taxation.
While it’s early days yet, your opposition to these charges, your protest, your opposition to meter installation, your non-payment campaign has put us on the verge of an historic victory.
But beware, “there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip” and we must remain vigilant.
Keep up the good work.
PEOPLE POWER WORKS!
Seamus Healy TD – 0872802199
Senior Legal Counsel confirm article 9(4) water charges derogation is still available to Ireland.
Evidence given by Scottish and Welsh Water to the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services in Ireland identified €500million was wasted by Irish Water in installing domestic water meters.
Yesterday Deputy Healy continued to raise issues at the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.
- Following up from previous meetings where he was informed that the metering programme would cease on 31 January 2017 I asked Irish Water for confirmation that the water metering programme had stopped and that contractors had been instructed to stop installing meters as of yesterday?
- He asked why Irish Water has no local offices or officials that the public can engage with directly?
- He asked why the public weren’t being notified re interruptions to water supply or planned maintenance by way of radio advertisements or leaflet drops?
- He also asked why Irish Water were cutting off supply to premises without notice or why they are cutting off supply at all?
He will as always keep you updated.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services met most recently on Wednesday last, 25 January 2017. I continue to raise many issues of public concern regarding our water services and to insist that important issues such as the need for a constitutional amendment to ensure protection of water services from privatisation be discussed.
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): It was suggested that we should not have been discussing this issue, but it is wholly appropriate for this committee to discuss a constitutional amendment. We are discussing the principle, not the specifics, which are for another committee to address. A constitutional amendment is the only certain protection against privatisation of water services, so the suggestion that the currently stated view of political parties and individual politicians that they are not in favour of privatisation represents a guarantee against it is almost laughable.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): Does the Deputy have a question or is he making statements?
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): That was a statement made by another committee member.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): I am trying to move on.
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): So am I.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): In fairness, I want to allow other members to contribute.
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): The statement does not stand up. In the witnesses’ view, is a constitutional amendment the only certain protection against privatisation? Is it not the case that any current protection, whatever it might be, can be changed by an Act of the Oireachtas?
There appears to be a difference of opinion on the alienation of assets. Is that in itself not an indication that a constitutional amendment is the better way of proceeding? If the departmental and legal views at this meeting differ, is it not clear that the only way to achieve certainty is by way of a constitutional amendment?
Do the Minister and Ervia have voting rights in Irish Water? I am seeking a “Yes” or “No” answer to my next question. Is Mr. Ó Tuathail satisfied that a constitutional amendment would not in any way affect current group water schemes?
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): I thank the Deputy, but my understanding is that some of his questions have already been asked by Deputy Murphy.
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): They may have been.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): Is that the case, Deputy Murphy? I could be wrong, but Deputy Healy asked five questions, the last two of which had not been asked previously. I will ask our guests to answer each of them,—–
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): Please do.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): —–but I believed that three of them had been answered previously.
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): I do not believe that they were the same.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Independent): The Deputy may be correct.
Mr. Séamas Ó Tuathail: As to whether a constitutional amendment is the only way—–
Séamus Healy (Tipperary, Workers and Unemployed Action Group): The only certain way.
Mr. Séamas Ó Tuathail: I would say “Yes”. As to whether any other protection can be removed, I would say “Yes”. As to the difference of opinion, I will not comment. That has already been said. The Ervia question is for Ms Graham. As to whether I am satisfied that an amendment would not in any way affect existing rights, “Yes” is the answer.
Ms Maria Graham: I can only refer to my statement, in which I said that we had sought to maximise the protections within the existing legislation. The Minister has recognised the sincerity of the proposals being made and the concerns that have been raised, and he is open to a work-up of proposals. For that reason, the Bill was not opposed and it was suggested that it needed legal and technical scrutiny when on Committee Stage.
A constitutional protection is always higher than a legislative provision. We have discussed the issues with wording.
Regarding voting, Ervia is owned by the State and Ervia owns Irish Water. Ervia has the voting rights, not the Minister. Rather, he has the economic rights. However, there is a range of provisions under the legislation for which ministerial consent is required. The Minister also gives Ervia what is called a shareholder’s expectation letter, which sets out the range of activities that he, as the shareholder in the State company, expects Ervia to perform. That involves a number of metrics and is common to the NewERA family, as it were, those being, ESB, Gas Networks Ireland, etc.
That would set out a range of things to do with dividend policy, water policy, and energy policy, etc. While the Minister does not have a voting right, there is obviously a policy construct within the legislation, within the NewERA legislation, and within the specific ministerial consents that are set out in legislation.