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Nessa Childers warns against privatization of Irish water at Right2Water hearing in European Parliament today

Press Release

Monday 17 Feb 2014

Speaking at the public hearing for the first ever Citizen’s Initiative which calls for the right to water to be enshrined in EU law, Nessa Childers warned against selling Irish Water to private enterprise and said the EU must guarantee that all its citizens have access to a clean and health water supply.

“I am very concerned about the lack of transparency around the Irish Government’s plans for water charges and about the future of water supply in Ireland, we need a guarantee that the service will be kept in public ownership.”

Speaking at the hearing in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee this afternoon, during the debate titled ‘No liberalization of water services’, Nessa Childers also told the hearing: “This Right2Water campaign could not have come at a better time, where a number of member states such as my own, Ireland, have implemented water charges and centralized the water sector as part of the bailout packages imposed by the troika. Irish citizens could be potentially left with higher bill prices and lower quality water. The issue also is that we keep control of access to water as a right for all citizens and that we do not commodify or liberalize access to water.”

“At a time where our citizens are still experiencing the effects of the economic crisis and the harsh austerity policies, the challenge and key question here lies in the affordability of water bills. High quality water is only good if everyone can afford it.  It deserves the status of a human right.

“We need to know what measures, if any are in place to improve the participation of users and civil society in the decision making processes on access to water?


Note for Editor:

The first ever European Citizens’ Initiative calls for implementing the human right to water and sanitation in EU law. www.right2water.eu.  Text of inititative:

“Water is a public good, not a commodity. We invite the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all. The EU legislation should require governments to ensure and to provide all citizens with sufficient and clean drinking water and sanitation.

We urge that:
·        The EU institutions and Member States be obliged to ensure that all inhabitants enjoy the right to water and sanitation.
·        Water supply and management of water resources not be subject to ‘internal market rules’ and that water services are excluded from liberalisation.
·        The EU increases its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.”