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.