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."
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