My Monday morning clinics in Darndale are suspended for the next few weeks since the BESC offices are closed for staff annual leave. I will be in Le Chéile, Donnycarney on Monday the 9th of July and have been holding my usual Friday and Saturday clinics also. On Tuesday morning, I visited Block 8 at Cromcastle Court, met local residents and saw the shocking structural damage to a staircase there. I have been calling for a Topical Issue Debate on this urgent matter in Dáil Éireann but have not been granted time for that debate yet. I will continue to raise the matter next week.
On Thursday this week, I got the opportunity to speak on the Water Services Bill 2017. I recalled the long and successful struggle of the Right2Water campaign in Dublin Bay North and throughout Ireland and paid tribute to the tens of thousands of citizens who peacefully and steadfastly opposed water charges and the privatisation of water supplies. I warned that Part 2 of the Bill on water allowances, thresholds amounts must not be permitted to become an excuse for the reintroduction of charges through the back door and called for amendments to this part of the Bill and to the provisions on Irish Water itself.
I am glad to have the opportunity to speak briefly on the Water Services Bill 2017. From the outset I was opposed to the Fine Gael Ervia project, including Irish Water, whose aim was always to privatise Ireland’s domestic water supply.
I always advocated that all the necessary capital funding for expanding water supplies and the maintenance of water systems around the country should be a core part of the annual and multi-annual capital budgets. For about eight years I was chair of the Dublin City Council general purposes committee, which among many other matters looked after the water supply for much of the Dublin region. I saw at first hand how the city council, which organised and provided this water, was denied resources by successive Governments led by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to carry out critical maintenance for new pipework and to expand Dublin water supply resources. When we were trying to get the Leixlip works refurbished and developed, we had a great struggle to get funding from the Fianna Fáil-led Government.
I thank the House for the opportunity to speak briefly on my colleague Deputy Collins’ important Private Member’s Bill, the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No. 2) Bill 2016. I warmly congratulate Deputy Collins on her great perseverance and determination in bringing forward the Bill to ensure that the national water supply and infrastructure will remain forever, as the amendment would provide, in public ownership and management. Deputy Collins was a leading candidate who stood on the Right2Change platform in the February general election. A key commitment of that platform, supported outstandingly by the Mandate and Unite trade unions, was to abolish water taxes and ensure through a referendum that our water services infrastructure remains always in the ownership of the Irish people. I am proud to stand beside Deputy Collins on the Right2Change programme and am delighted that her Bill to amend the Constitution will, hopefully, be accepted by Dáil Éireann this week.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has today spoken in strong support of Deputy Joan Collin’s Private Members’ Bill on the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No. 2) Bill 2016. Deputy Collin’s Bill provides for the amendment of Article 28 of the Constitution to enshrine water in public ownership. Deputy Broughan re-iterated Deputy Collin’s argument that unless an elected representative is in favour of privatising water in Ireland, they must support this Bill.