Date Released: 07 November 2016
Speaking on behalf of his union’s National Executive Council, SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, has voiced strong and unequivocal support for a Bill which is being promoted by Deputy Joan Collins TD envisaging a referendum to change the Constitution to prohibit the privatisation of the public water supply.
He said: “We acknowledge that none of the parties presently represented in the Oireachtas are promoting privatisation in the current context. We are also aware that Labour in the last government secured legislation entailing a requirement for approval by plebiscite of any proposal for privatisation in the future (see Section 2.1 (b), Water Services Act 2014). However, it has been argued that this law could be overridden by a majority in the Oireachtas at some time in the future without recourse to the people.”
“The EU Directive envisaging a requirement for cost recovery opens the way for possible privatisation at some point in the future. Circumstances can change especially in the event of a sharp deterioration in the public finances. Accordingly, we should act now to ensure that the final say on the ownership of the public water supply should always reside exclusively in the hands of the people of Ireland. The only sure way of doing this is through a Constitutional amendment.”