Our Water meeting with Senior Counsel

Article by James Quigley

                                                                                                                                                               Insert; Matthias Kelly, Q.C.S.C

                                                                                                                                                              Insert; Matthias Kelly, Q.C.S.C

For the past few weeks Buncrana Together hasn’t been too active.  It is due, in my opinion, to a big dose of despondency, that more than likely is terminal.  We are really worn down by the treachery of the leadership in R2W / Sinn Fein, battered by the verbal slings and arrows of their devoted followers and also by what seems to be a futile exercise, trying to awaken some kind of critical thinking not only in the general public but also in Ireland’s so called progressive thinkers.

What criticisms or analysis has there been, for example,  of the massive grassroots movement which at one time was so strong that the majority of Irish households refused to accept the establishment of Irish Water, pay water charges and allow metering? This opposition was so widespread that it was like a revolution,  instrumental in forcing a change of government and abolishing newly introduced legislation. It stopped in it’s tracks the establishment’s multi billion Euro push to privatise water, setting up a quasi private water company, introducing itemised billing of domestic water and the role out of smart water meters.

What analysis was there when after removing the sugar coating, it looks like all that we were fighting against has now been realised? Irish Water is  very much entrenched in minds and legislation. It will shortly role out itemised billing and continue it’s metering programme and little by little the sprinkling of a sugar coating  will be reduced  until all that was envisage by the establishment will be fulfilled.

After years of effort and struggle by the people of Ireland, there wasn’t even a whimper when the R2W affiliated trade unions and politicians joined up with the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael’s 2016 ‘Programme for Government’ deal in the form of the Expert Water Commission and the Oireachtas Water Committee.

Prior to and during that political duplicity all the R2W leadership and politicians, accepted the principle of a single water company, excessive use charges and metering and enabled the movement’s initiative and momentum to be hijacked and ring-fenced in a long drawn out political process.  

No matter their various agendas it was like they got a whiff of the limelight and saw the potential for political publicity.  The result was they hijacked the movement, wrested it from the people of Ireland and controlled it within their political domain.  From that day on, the day of capitulation, the revolution or potential for political change was nullified. 

Our Water
In our articles in Buncrana Together we have produced a lot of evidence to back up our claims for those willing to read. Evidence that we, as non professional,  were able to gather. However, it was the many unanswered questions together with a lack of official information, (not subject to the Freedom of Information Act), that led us recently to form an ad-hoc group which we called ‘Our Water’,  with the aim was to try get some clarity and explore avenues that we could take, legal or otherwise.  Our main emphasis was on a legal loophole i.e Ireland’s Established Practice, incorporated in Section 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive, and Ireland’s second River Basin Management Plan which was presented to Brussels in April this year. . Both of which received little attention from R2W and the politicians.

Our Water concluded that it needed unbiased legal advice and find out definitively whether there was any legal grounds that we could follow.  Having found out that this was going to be costly we set up a GoFundMe campaign and within two weeks we collected €2500 and arranged a meeting with Matthias Kelly SC in Dublin on 17/05/2018. Our Water representatives at the meeting were James Quigley, Mark mcAuley, Brendan Kelly and Michael Mooney.

Below is a pdf file of the meeting between Our Group and Matthias Kelly Q.C.S.C in the form of questions and answers. (SC denotes Senior Counsel). It is informative but somewhat alarming and unfortunately it is quite long.


MEP MARIAN HARKIN TO SPONSOR REPRESENTATIVES OF ' OUR WATER ' TO BRUSSELS

Marian Harkin, MEP, invited ‘Our Water’ group to explore and assess possibilities of saving Ireland's endangered European 9.4 Domestic Water Charges exemption.

Citizens from around the country have formed a group called ‘Our Water’.   Representatives of the group held a meeting in Letterkenny, Co Donegal,  on February 9th, 2018 with MEP Marian Harkin. 

Ms Harkin agreed to lend her full support to the group.

The Our Water group insist that the Irish Government’s failure to renew Ireland's 9.4 Exemption will be disastrous for the people and it will mean a return to 1) Water Metering  2) Water Billing and  3) The possibility of Water Privatisation.

Michael Mooney, spokesperson for ‘Our Water’ said “Irish people haven't given up their fight, only our politicians have done that. We demand that the government protect the peoples’ interests and renew and maintain our 9.4 Exemption.  If they don’t, our right to and control of this invaluable resource, will be handed over to Brussels and private interests."

  Members of the Our Water’ group meeting with MEP Marian Harkin.   L to R; Brendan Kelly, Enda Craig, Marian Harkin, Mark McAuley, James Quigley and Michael Mooney

Members of the Our Water’ group meeting with MEP Marian Harkin.   L to R; Brendan Kelly, Enda Craig, Marian Harkin, Mark McAuley, James Quigley and Michael Mooney

Ms Harkin  agreed to help the group explore the possibilities of saving the 9.4 Exemption as contained in the Water Framework Directive, 2000/60/EC.

The  Exemption  allows Ireland to opt out of full cost recovery of domestic charges if the Government so wish.  Ireland is now on the brink of doing away with it forever and if this happens the Irish Government will be responsible. This point was emphasised by Ms Harkin at the meeting when she said that if this clause is not invoked in the next River Basin Management Plan (RBMP)  then the Irish Government will hand power to Brussels who will determine our domestic funding and infrastructure. The next draft RBMP can be viewed on DHPLG website and is due to be submitted to Brussels in April 2018.  Unfortunately the public will not have the opportunity to view the final plan until it is submitted to Brussels. 

By that stage it could be too late.

Our Water facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/177113226349071/?ref=br_rs


The Germans are coming for our water

Trade Mission “Water and Waste Water” to Ireland 12. - 15. March 2018. 

Written by AHK German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce
 

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Are you interested in finding solutions and opportunities for Ireland’s water and waste water industry? You will have the possibility to participate in a trade mission in the area of water and waste water organized by the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. In the framework of this trade mission we will have 8 German water and waste water companies coming here to Ireland from 12th to 15th March 2018 to identify business partnerships with Irish companies.

What to expect:

We have 8 specified German Companies which take part from the Sector Water and Waste Water which will provide a brief induction about themselves on the conference day and are available for individual meetings on the following day. Places are limited and meetings need to be pre booked.

Conference will take place on the 13th of March. Individual Cooperation Meetings will take place on the 14th of March.

Background: water and sewage - an important issue

Ireland has an outdated water infrastructure. In the Irish water system, an estimated 46 million litres water are lost every day, which is equivalent to half of the treated water in Ireland. Even more serious is the situation in the waste water structure and the water treatment plants. The Irish government plans to invest € 5.5 billion in water supply and sewage management. German companies which are active in the fields of water, waste water and environmental technology could, with their expertise and technology, optimise processes and performances, not only at the local level, but also in water intensive industries.

Benefits for Irish companies

  • Engage directly with top quality manufacturers of “Made in Germany” technologies

  • Explore excellent, mutually-beneficial business opportunities

  • Attend a free conference to gain insight into business opportunities in the water and waste water sector

  • A great opportunity to get contacts with German companies and gaining a substantial foothold in the German market

  • Make use of networking opportunities with German and Irish experts and market players

  • Convenient for you – individual cooperation meetings with the German companies with the opportunity that they will take place in your workplace

  • Having business contacts in Germany can provide you new partnerships

If you are interested in participating at the conference you can register for the event on this site or contact us.

To set up your individual co-operation meeting please contact us directly.

German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce