At the March meeting of South Dublin County Council elected members agreed a motion calling for a referendum to keep our water in public ownership. The motion was proposed by People Before Profit councillor Madeleine Johansson and was unanimously agreed by all councillors. It calls on the Taoiseach to hold a referendum on the ownership of our water services and that the following wording should be used: ‘The Government shall be collectively responsible for the protection, management and maintenance of the public water system. The Government shall ensure in the public interest that this resource remains in public ownership and management.’
Cllr Madeleine Johansson commented: “I’m delighted that my motion was passed calling for a referendum to enshrine the public ownership of water services in the constitution. I was involved in the campaign against water charges and it was the massive people power movement and the boycotting of the bills that defeated the charges. But many people are still concerned about the set-up of Uisce Eireann (Irish Water) and fear that privatisation of water is still a possibility unless it is protected in the constitution.
“Local authority water workers have been campaigning both for a referendum and against their transfer from councils to Irish Water. They fear that pay and conditions for workers could be undermined by Irish Water, particularly if there were any moves towards privatisation.”