Response to Labour TD's call for referendum on privatisation of Irish Water Ltd. Smoke and Mirrors

by Buncrana Together

What do Labour TDs,  Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Ciaran Lynch, Michael McNamara, and Emmet Stagg mean by signing a SIPTU petition?  This was revealed in the Irish Examiner Wed January 20, 2016.  It states that the petition calls for a public vote to ensure that Irish Water remains in public ownership?   Was this their 'Road to Damascus' moment where they saw the error of Labour's ways?  Maybe it was because they knew something is very iffy with Irish Water's setup and they do not trust their leader Tanaiste Joan Burton.    Or was it because Ireland is now close to a general election?  What is the full content of SIPTU's petition and do they agree with it?  For instance, does SIPTU also want water management to revert back to Local Authorities?

TweedleDum, TweedleDee John Tenniel's illustration, from  Through the Looking-Glass  (1871)

TweedleDum, TweedleDee John Tenniel's illustration, from Through the Looking-Glass (1871)

TweedleDum, TweedleDee and there's too many questions

Can it be that this is the best that some, cap in hand, loyal Labour party members can come up with?  And is it the sum of their answer to the complex question of Water Charges, to support an ambiguous referendum?  I bet you Fianna Fail and it's possible, even the ultra right-wing Fine Gael party could agree to something like this.

What do they mean really? They need to spell it out.  Do they mean that the Irish Water Ltd company should belong to the people of Ireland and run by the state on their behalf, in perpetuity?  Do they mean that our water, rivers, lakes seas, reservoirs above and below ground, all infrastructure should belong to the people forever?   Something like Aer Lingus, An Post, ESB, Bus Eireann, Bord Na Mona, Coilte, Eircom or maybe our oil, our gas, air, electricity,  energy,  and so on and so forth, all privatised or in the process of?

And a final question, do they think that water shouldnot be treated as a commodity and sold to those who are able to afford it? Questions, questions and still more questions.  Forget the nitty gritty, just support a referendum, sounds good but don't get bogged down in details.

No doubt we will hear the cry of referendum from many parties in the run up to the general election and we will hear the promises after promise that all things will be done for our benefit and on our behalf.


I think it's a smokescreen, smoke and mirrors, a red herring, used by wily politicians to deflect us away from the real issues of the disaster that is Irish Water and camouflage the involvement of Fianna, Fail, Fine Gael, Labour even the Greens, Renua and some right wing Independents in introducing and perpetuating the trick that is Irish Water.


Constitution not worth the paper it is printed on
Is that a sacrilege? Is saying that the Labour Party's nominated President signed Irish Water repressive legislation into Law , a sacrilege?  Is saying that the Constitution is not worth the paper it is written on a sacrilege? 

Anyway I would like someone to explain what Article 10 of the Irish Constitution really means, or for that mater the whole Constitution itself.  Our legislation including this supposedly be-all and end-all of legal arguments , 'Buncreacht Na hEireann''  is full of archaic, convolutedlanguage that only judges, barristers and solicitors, and maybe the multitude of overpaid civil servants and ministers can fathom or seem to understand.

I thought the Irish Constitution already enshrined our national resources as belonging to the people of Ireland.   I thought that the Constitution and legislature are there to guarantee the people of Ireland a fundament quality of life.  Yea, pull the other one.

Tell that to the people in the Corrib dispute, tell it to those in Save the Foyle, tell it to the Anti Dublin Incinerator Campaign and to all the campaigns the length and breadth of Ireland now and in the past.  Ask them how much the Constitution protected or helped them. What about our gas and oil resources given away for nothing? What about the fishermen, the islanders, sitting at home while foreign boats sail back home from our waters laden?  Ask them how much the Constitution protected their way of life.

Super dooper whiz kids, the constitution and Irish Water's incomprehensible make-up.

Like the companies mentioned above, some of whom have been sold off, privatised, or are in the process of being flogged, or only still a twinkle in the eye of the IMF,  Irish Water is and will be no different. It won't matter about Constitutions or legislation.  Some form of wording or legal loopholes or deception will be found to disregard and subvert the Constitution in order to fulfill the requisiteagenda, especially when well off moguls back it with their cash. 

As it is it would take a super dooper whiz kid to fathom out the intricate structures of Irish Water and all the aforementioned companies. For example who owns Bord Gais, explain to me how it was sold off, who owns it now and how come the Irish people got left withthe unprofitable bits, the crud.

Not even Eurostat could decipher the structure that is Irish Water. See footnote 8 page 3 of Eurostat Report 'Sector Classification of Irish Water'.   I wonder could theLabour Ministers explain the nitty gritty of this to us?

They maketh as thoughe butter wolde nat melte in their mouthe”

Plans for Water Charges, Irish Water and the relevant legislation have been ongoing since 2000.  Ever since the Planning and Development Act came into being.  The three main movers and shakers were of course,  Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party, each doing their bit in their respective Tweedledum, Tweedledee terms of office.

Not only that but Fine Gael and the Labour Party have been hard at introducing Water Charges as early as 1974. They are sticklers, aren't they, "They maketh as thoughe butter wolde nat melte in their mouthe." 

In other words they look you in the eye, cool as a cucumber and tell you that our resources will be enshrined in the constitution. That is not the only little fibs they have been dishing out. All three, deft at politics slowly let our water infrastructure decline by underfunding it and having no long term plans except of course, Irish Water and Water Charges and god knows what else.   In the case of Fianna Fail, Water Charges since they want to do away with Irish Water and replace it with, well that is the question.  Even in the time of Bertie when the country was awash with 'Cash' nothing was funded properly, Local Authorities, infrastructure, hospitals, education. Now they are telling us that Irish Water isour 'great white hope' for the future.

Water bonanza

Irish Water Ltd structure was a mess to start with and no amount of tinkering will reform it, even if something is mentioned in the Constitution about it.  It will not be in the interest of the Irish Public.  One thought that comes to mind is; can a company, a private company, or semi privater company or whatever be mentioned in the Constitution? Ah it is ridiculous you would need Article 10 to be as long as your arm. What is the relationship of Veolia Environmental Services, Siteserve (remember Denis O'Brien) or whatever the company is called now, GMC Sierra,  and a host of other private companies, with Irish Water and our water resources.

Infrastructure reverted back to Local Authority

There is a major question about ownership of our natural resources, about Article 10. All this talk about referendums would be irrelevant if our water resources and infrastructure reverted back to the local authorities. I would say that could be included in the Constitution.  SIPTU members have called for this.  The water workers throughout Ireland have first hand knowledge of all water systems and they have a close relationship with the public.  They are the public.  This is where I am in agreement with SIPTU,  a lot of whose members have personally been supportive of the campaign against Water Charges and Irish Water.  I hope that the leadership reflect this support from their members.

What is the Water Charges Campaign all about, a referendum?

It is our view that the Water Charges' campaign is not solely about, Irish Water, or Water Charges or related oppressive legislation or a referendum.  It encompasses all of these.  It is about the fundamental right of every citizen to water which is the basis for life, health and well-being.  It is about how water should not be contingent on the ability to pay.  It is about the duty of the state to provide this right to every citizen and ensure that water will not be turned into a commodity.  It is about the duty of the state to make sure our water and infrastructure remains, in perpetuity, in the hands of the people.  As such the introduction of water charges is against this principle.  Water Charges should be provided for through general taxation and it is up to the state to make sure that everyone can enjoy an equal opportunity in every facet of life.  It is up to the state to provide full employment from which we, as citizens, can contribute our share to help the country grow and pass it on to our children.

Water Meters

The idea of water meters are an anathema.   They are not about saving water. They are not about finding leaks.  No, they are designed to go hand in hand with privatisation of water.  They are designed to turn water into a commodity, to itemise it's use, in short a money making machine.  Water meters are just like electricity meters, itemised billing that no one can understand but we all see the bills going up and up.  All this and I am not even going to get into the whole sinister area of 'Smart Meters'.

Aodhan, Ciaran, Michael, Emmet what are your thoughts? How do propose that our water will not be privatised and that the present setup is in the interest of the Irish people?

Emmet Stagg

Emmet Stagg

Ciaran Lynch

Ciaran Lynch

Michael McNamara

Michael McNamara

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin