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Press Statement

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

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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.


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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.


 

I will be voting no confidence in this Government for a number of reasons. It is now clear that senior gardaí were systematically intimidating whistleblowers. False accusations of sexual misconduct made to Tusla was the first leg of that operation. The second leg of that operation was the dissemination of these allegations through pet crime correspondents who are dependent on gardaí for information to do their jobs. In this way, these allegations were disseminated to other journalists, politicians and opinion formers. The Taoiseach has refused to say when he first learned about this operation. I am satisfied that he and the Tánaiste knew about it. They tried to cover it up and to confine the inquiry to a cosy secret investigation but Sergeant McCabe pulled the plug on them. They were caught out. It is time for the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Garda Commissioner to resign. I believe that a criminal investigation by an external police force chosen by this Dáil should begin immediately in parallel with the tribunal of inquiry.

The Committee of Public Accounts will shortly report that €220 million was lost on the Project Eagle sale and that it was not appropriate for the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, Department of Finance officials and NAMA to meet senior Cerberus representatives in the days prior to that sale. This is but the tip of the iceberg. Massive Irish assets are being sold off at knock down prices to the Government’s international financial friends. People in need of health care are being criminally neglected and hundreds are dying needlessly according to our medical consultants.

At the same time as the Irish super-rich make massive untaxed asset gains – the value of their assets is now significantly higher than at the height of the boom – tenants, mortgage holders and farmers are being evicted by banks and vulture funds, including banks owned by this State.

With regard to housing, the Government has refused to declare a housing emergency and to implement adequate measures to house the homeless and the 100,000 on the housing waiting list. Recent Governments have surrendered all Irish economic sovereignty under the fiscal treaty. Despite what I would describe as a begging letter, the European Union is now refusing to allow the Government to borrow money to put a roof over the heads of our citizens. The wheels are coming off the policy of privatising State companies, combined with the over-reliance on foreign direct investment. The interests of the Irish people have been put completely in the hands of foreign agencies, foreign companies and foreign governments. I say to this Government tonight: go now.

Seamus Healy TD – 0872802199


Seamus Healy TD: I fully support the Tesco workers on strike tomorrow. Tesco make €250,000,000 in profit every year and refer to their Irish Business as “treasure island”. They have committed to paying dividends to their shareholders later this year whilst attempting to cut pay and conditions for their longest serving employees in Ireland by up to 20%. Please show your support for the workers and don’t pass the pickets. This strike is incredibly important for all workers in Ireland, if Tesco can set a precedent by effectively tearing up contracts of employment without agreement then no worker is safe.#TescoStrike #SupportTescoWorkers

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