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Abolish Water Charges!!!

  • Anti-Water Charge Campaigners Secured Repayment of Charges to Those who Paid-and Householders Can Keep 100 Euro “Conservation Grant” as Well!!!

    Government Descends into Low Farce

    Households set to keep €100 water grant and get refunds-Irish Times

    More than 190,000 people claimed the grant but did not pay any of the five bills distributed by the water utility.

    The €100 grant was introduced in 2015 in what some described as an attempt to entice people to sign up to the billing system. The then government insisted it aimed to encourage more considered use of water.

    Both Mr Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney have previously said they believe the €100 should be deducted from any repayment to those who paid their Irish Water bills.

    However, it is understood the Department of Housing has been advised of potential difficulties in this regard due to assurances given to the Eurpean Commission that the grant and the charges were not associated.

    JOBSTOWN NOT GUILTY VERDICT! BIG VICTORY FOR DEMOCRACY AND THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST WATER CHARGES!

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    Due to Garda Scandals—-

    “It is hardly surprising, then, that a jury, when faced with a conflict between evidence from members of the Garda and video evidence, would be reluctant to give the benefit of the doubt to members of the gardaí, as they did in the Reclaim the Streets trial.”

    Carol Coulter: Jobstown trial underlines Garda failures

    Carol Coulter;  Irish Times, Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 05:07

    There has been much speculation about the reasons for the unanimous acquittal of those tried for false imprisonment in Jobstown, but little attention given to the context in which it took place.

    The jury was asked to consider evidence for and against the proposition that the six accused had falsely imprisoned former tánaiste Joan Burton and her assistant, Karen O’Connor.

    While the two women gave evidence of their ordeal and its impact on them, the bulk of the evidence on which this accusation was based was that of members of the Garda Síochána, who sought to convince the jury that the men had, individually and collectively, been responsible for detaining the women and preventing them from leaving the vicinity.

    Other evidence came in the form of camera-phone and video recordings of the incident, some of which contradicted the evidence of the gardaí. In acquitting the six men, the jury rejected the evidence presented by the gardaí.

    The context in which the trial took place included not only the sustained campaign in many working-class communities against water charges, of which the demonstration was a part, but also the recent litany of scandals within the Garda which has severely dented the credibility of the force.

    Morris tribunal

    Scandals in the Garda are, unfortunately, nothing new. They include the widespread abuses in Donegal revealed by the Morris tribunal and the wrongful conviction of Frank Shortt for allowing drugs to be sold on his premise, later overturned on appeal and leading to substantial compensation, and a number of cases over many years in which the judge ruled the evidence of the gardaí could not be relied upon.

    But none of this appeared to dent the faith juries had in the gardaí and their willingness to believe Garda evidence even when it appeared to contradict that of members of the public or indeed video evidence.

    This was particularly well-illustrated by the cases arising out of the Reclaim the Streets demonstration in Dublin on May Day 2002, where a number of demonstrators were severely beaten by members of the Garda, with many of them seriously injured.

    No demonstrators were charged with violence. Five gardaí were subsequently prosecuted for assault causing harm.

    In the following trials, the juries were shown television and video footage of the demonstration and the Garda reaction, including the beating of unarmed demonstrators with batons. It included footage of one assault during which one of the gardaí charged accepted he had used excessive force.

    Despite this, and graphic accounts of their injuries given by multiple victims, all five were acquitted by juries. One was convicted of the lesser charge of assault and received a suspended sentence.

    Such an attitude on the part of juries reflected the widespread respect in which gardaí were held among the majority – though of course not all – of the population until recently. Successive surveys have shown high levels of satisfaction with the force, though this tended to reduce when those living in working-class communities were questioned.

    Indeed, a 2003 report from the National Crime Council on public order revealed that the policing style in working-class suburbs was much more hostile and aggressive than that in more middle-class areas closer to the city centre.

    This suggested that large swathes of the population were, in certain circumstances, seen as problematic by many members of the Garda, and the attitude was reciprocated. However, this mutual mistrust was not generalised.

    Whistleblowers

    Recent years have seen a shift in public attitudes towards the Garda and its leadership. The Garda whistleblowers controversy, which has cost the careers of a Garda commissioner and a minister for justice, rumbles on and its fallout is by no means over.

    The issue initially highlighted – that penalty points were routinely not applied to those with the right connections in the force – is one that strikes a chord with every driver in the State.

    That has been compounded by the revelation that the statistics relating to penalty points were wildly inaccurate. Since then, it has been revealed that other statistics, including those relating to homicides, are also unreliable.

    More recently, revelations of questionable financial practices in Templemore over many years has led to further questioning of Garda senior management.

    It is hardly surprising, then, that a jury, when faced with a conflict between evidence from members of the Garda and video evidence, would be reluctant to give the benefit of the doubt to members of the gardaí, as they did in the Reclaim the Streets trial.

    The implications of this do not end with the Jobstown trial. If Garda evidence is to be accepted by juries in future, it must not only be accurate and unbiased, and not conflict with video evidence, but the credibility of the gardaí themselves must be restored.

    Carol Coulter is director of the Child Care Law Reporting Project and former legal affairs editor of The Irish Times. She writes here in a personal capacity


    Was The Decision to Charge the Seven with False Imprisonment  “A Conspiracy”, “An Idiotic Mistake”, “a Cultural Convergence” as alleged in media

    The Irish elite is so small and incestuous that there is no problem coming to a consensus informally. There are even close blood relations as well as political relations in many cases between individuals in formally “separate and independent” branches of the state, business and the media . There is of course a common elitist “culture” but that is not all
    The seven were charged with false imprisonment.This may not just have been an “idiotic” error. Very experienced people were involved on the prosecution side.

    Was the more serious charge used because FG-Labour and their associates in various agencies of state knew that there was no evidence of the lesser charge of disorderly behaviour against the POLITICAL people they wanted to discredit?

    Were it not for contemporaneous electronic recordings, the defendants would probably have been convicted!!!

    There is, of course, a strong argument that the entire Irish elite is a continuous standing conspiracy against the Irish People–Agreement with EU to bail out the biggest investors in Irish banks, agreement to the EU Fiscal Treaty which set aside Irish economic sovereignty, Failure to tax the huge incomes and assets of the super-rich, making the poor pay for the crisis-all these lend force to the argument.

    Of course The DPP is formally independent of government and technically the Attorney General had no role in the prosecution and “operational matters” including deciding what merits criminal investigation is technically in the hands of the gardai alone. The prosecution was taken by the gardai with the agreement of the DPP. The judge told the Jury to give more weight to electronic evidence than to witness statements including garda evidence!!!

    Director of Public Prosecutions–Claire Loftus

    A prominent member of Fine Gael in university -alleged on politics.ie

    DPP Website

    Elizabeth Howlin               Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions       Head of Directing Division, with responsibility for leading the Directing Division in deciding whether there should be a prosecution on file submitted and directing any proceedings.

    Elizabeth Howlin is a cousin of former Labour Party Minister, now Labour Leader, Brendan Howlin TD

     

    ATTORNEY GENERAL UNTIL RECENT TIMES

    Maire Whelan    Wikipedia:  “She has served as financial secretary of theLabour Party, which was the junior member of the 2011 coalition government formed with Fine Gael”

    RTE

    Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has told the Circuit Criminal Court she was “deeply concerned and frightened for the safety” of former tánaiste Joan Burton during a water charges protest in Tallaght in 2014. However, it was put to her that she previously refused to condemn the protesters during a  pre-election television debate.—RTE   May 2017

    The Senator Zappone withdrew a motion in the Seanad calling for reversal of cuts to loan parents benefits introduced by Joan Burton(Labour) as Minister for “Social Protection”

    Comment on Facebook:  John Sullivan A core element of the political / media nexus in the Jobstown trial was to align the water protest movement in the wider public mind with trouble- police, courts, jails, etc. When 100 plus thousand were on the streets over water, the sheer scale of it terrified the golden circle and their political and media mouthpieces. In Jobstown they spotted an opportunity, even apparently Joan B saw the opp to link cops, riot shields, etc with water charges. Every RTE coverage of the trial referred to the “water charges protest in Jobstown” – except – the last one. At 1 pm on Thursday June 29, RTE dropped the water reference as they were announcing the first item, the “not guilty” verdict. Rotten and corrupt to the core.

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    Burton(LABOUR) Should Resign From The Dáil and let the people decide her fate in a Bye-Election

    Congratulations to all the Defendants and to all their supporters!

    Former Progressive Democrat Leader and Senior Counsel Michael McDowell: “The prosecution took a sledge hammer to crack a nut”-RTE

    Was this because FG-Labour knew that there was no evidence of the lesser charge of disorderly behaviour against the political people they wanted to discredit? -Paddy Healy

    Of course The DPP is formally independent of government and technically the Attorney General had no role in the prosecution. The prosecution was taken by the gardai with the agreement of the DPP. The judge told the Jury to give more weight to electronic evidence than to witness statements including garda evidence!!!

    But interactions among branches of the Irish elite are mostly informal!

    Director of Public Prosecutions–Claire Loftus

    A prominent member of Fine Gael in university -alleged on politics.ie

    DPP Website

    Elizabeth Howlin               Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions       Head of Directing Division, with responsibility for leading the Directing Division in deciding whether there should be a prosecution on file submitted and directing any proceedings.

    Elizabeth Howlin is a niece of former Labour Party Minister, now Labour Leader, Brendan Howlin TD

     

    ATTORNEY GENERAL UNTIL RECENT TIMES

    Maire Whelan    Wikipedia:  “She has served as financial secretary of theLabour Party, which was the junior member of the 2011 coalition government formed with Fine Gael”

    RTE

    Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has told the Circuit Criminal Court she was “deeply concerned and frightened for the safety” of former tánaiste Joan Burton during a water charges protest in Tallaght in 2014. However, it was put to her that she previously refused to condemn the protesters during a  pre-election television debate.—RTE   May 2017

    The Senator Zappone withdrew a motion in the Seanad calling for reversal of cuts to loan parents benefits introduced by Joan Burton(Labour)

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    Example of Gross Deception and Manipulation of Information on Water Charges-Colm McCarthy Pretends not to Know that we Pay Already  for Water. He wants us to pay a Second Time!! He is a Professor of Economics. He Knows!

    Seamus Healy TD : “We Already Pay For Water. We will not pay a second time

    Fine Gael, the Endapendents, Labour, the Greens, and indeed Fianna Fáil must not be allowed to restore water charges. They will also attempt to increase PAYE and VAT to make us pay for water a second time. We are already paying for water services through existing general taxation. But the money has been diverted to other purposes including tax concessions to the very rich.

    We are already paying by law. After the humiliation of Fine Gael, Labour and Workers Party candidates by anti-water charges campaigner Joe Higgins in the 1996 bye-election, Brendan Howlin from the then FG-Lab-DL government abolished water charges and transferred the cost on to motor tax and other existing duties and fees in the 1997 Act.”

     Fair water charges would stop outpouring of anger

    The current Dail will not legislate for water charges, but a future Dail will have to address the issue, writes Economist Colm McCarthy

    OUTCRY: Thousands of protesters took part in the anti-water charges rally in Dublin earlier this month Photo: Tony Gavin1
    OUTCRY: Thousands of protesters took part in the anti-water charges rally in Dublin earlier this month Photo: Tony Gavin

    April 16 2017 2:30 AM

    The report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services was released on Wednesday last. The report declines, up front and openly, to outline any plan for the future financing of the water industry, which is what the committee was asked to do.

    Instead the operating shortfall of the water industry and the enormous capital bill for rehabilitation of the system are both to be financed from something called ‘general taxation’, a bountiful treasure chest nestling undiscovered in the basement of the Department of Finance.

    This secret stash contains nothing as boring as ordinary money, which can only be spent once, but is a magic and inexhaustible currency made of premium elastic and capable of postponing political choices forever.

    The last government’s original plan was to reduce by about half the prospective water bill arising from the scheme announced by the predecessor Fianna Fail/Green administration. The reduction was to be achieved through fixing the annual charge for most households at €260, defrayed to a net €160 via a ‘water conservation grant’ of €100, coincidentally bringing the net cost to the level of the television licence fee.

    The €260 gross figure would have been enough to ensure that annual revenue would appear to cover 50pc of operating costs and to permit the government to pretend that Irish Water was a commercial semi-State company. The 50pc cost-recovery figure was felt to be acceptable to the EU statistical office, Eurostat. This was important since it would have meant that Irish Water’s debt could be hidden off the government’s balance sheet as if it was a largely self-financing commercial operation, permitting extra government spending while appearing to stay within the EU’s fiscal prudence guidelines.

    The jockey fell off this unfancied horse, not once but twice. Eurostat declined to go along with it and the free water campaigner Paul Murphy won the Dublin South West by-election in October 2014. All three of the main political parties converted to free water, with Sinn Fein the first domino to fall. This brought down the Fianna Fail domino prior to the February 2016 General Election and Fine Gael has now keeled over to complete the collapse.

    The joint committee’s report must now be cloaked in some kind of legislative fig-leaf, maintaining the pretence of a charging regime in the hope, apparently vain, of staying inside the requirements of the EU’s Water Framework Directive. This was enacted as far back as the year 2000 with Ireland’s support, subject to a temporary derogation.

    Roughly 8pc of urban households could now end up paying for ‘excessive’ water use and it is the devout wish of the committee, and presumably of the Government, that the European Commission does not subscribe to the Irish newspapers and will not understand what has happened. Ireland will thus escape, they hope, numerous millions in fines for failure to implement the directive. Should the fines be imposed, this can be blamed on the ever-available Brussels bureaucrats.

    The committee has recommended full refunds for those who paid up, which should please several Sinn Fein members who indicated their intention to pay prior to their misadventure in Dublin South West. About two-thirds of the liable public either paid or signed up to do so, and almost one million households coughed up €163m. But the ‘water conservation grant’ cost €89m, and the intention, apparently, is to make refunds on a net basis. This will be tricky: the €100 grant was paid unconditionally, without any requirement to do any water conservation. Not even a plastic bucket in the back garden. Some people who did not pay the charge, or who had no liability, appear to have helped themselves to the €100 grant, and retrieving this money should be fun to watch.

    Irish Water, between operating losses and the bill for overdue capital works, will now be short in excess of €1bn per annum in cash. The committee is anxious to protect this financial gem from the calamity of privatisation, presumed to be an imminent threat.

    To this end, it has recommended a referendum to enshrine in the constitution Irish Water’s status as a publicly-owned financial albatross. If Oireachtas members are anxious to abdicate legislative responsibility for loss-making State enterprises, there are other candidates losing prodigious amounts of money with no private suitors. Surely Irish Rail is equally deserving? What about the road network, or the Phoenix Park?

    The willingness of elected politicians to abdicate by referendum (take a bow, David Cameron) has been a feature of the lurch to populism, in the form of some notion that democracy by plebiscite is inherently superior to the deliberations of elected representatives.

    The current Dail contains, and amongst the Right2Water deputies, several vociferous opponents of the 1983 abortion amendment, on the grounds that such matters should not be enshrined in the constitution but should be left to the wisdom of the legislature. Even if the privatisation of Irish Water was going to be feasible in their lifetimes, which looks unlikely, why should the matter be any different?

    It is clear that the current Dail will not legislate for water charges but some future Dail will have to address the issue. An important factor in the Right2Water campaign was the perception that the water charge, which might have been acceptable on its own if handled with more political skill, was coming on top of a succession of new tax impositions since 2009.

    The correction to the Irish public finances owes more to taxes and charges than it does to expenditure cuts, notably the Universal Social Charge, the increase in VAT, the household property tax and numerous other overt and concealed impositions.

    There was an element of ‘enough is enough’ about the street protests, fuelled also by the entirely accurate perception that the European Central Bank had imposed illegitimate bondholder pay-offs on Irish taxpayers.

    But there is an additional annoyance factor. Most people pay most of their taxes without pain-in-the-neck compliance costs.

    Excise duty and VAT is collected by retailers, most income tax and USC by employers, so there are no demands from the Government demanding one-off lump-sum payments. But the property tax was new, fighting for space in the letter-box with car tax, NCT renewals, the TV licence fee and now the water bill.

    There are two costs to dealing with unwelcome fan mail from the Government, the cash cost and the hassle. The latter is exacerbated by the multiplicity of payment platforms and the codology with PIN numbers. If Aer Lingus and Ryanair made it so hard to pay, they would never fly again.

    One of the once-off payments, the TV licence fee, cannot be long for this world. It is becoming uncollectible and recent proposals to extend it to laptops and (large!) smartphones look incapable of implementation.

    Perhaps public broadcasting is a genuine candidate for subvention from our good friend general taxation, and when the time comes to scrap it, the opportunity could be taken to build a single platform to collect all of the household-based taxes and charges in a more user-friendly fashion.

    Including a fair charging scheme for water.

    Sunday Independent

    Press Statement by Seamus Healy TD, Member of Oireachtas Committee on Future Funding of Water Services 

    Fianna Fáil Cave in on Water Charges Assisted by Labour and the Greens—Water Charges Can Now  Be Phased back in to Operation over Time, Probably After the Next General Election!

    Fianna Fáil yesterday voted against several amendments to the recommendations on water charges which Fianna Fáil, itself, proposed last week.

    On all key row-back amendments, the Labour Party, the Greens and Noel Grealish (IND) voted with FF and Fine Gael at the Committee

    Then the Labour Party and the Greens, hard-line supporters of charging for water generally, cynically voted against the final report

    Seamus Healy TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Sinn Fein and Solidarity voted against all  FF U-turns and against the final report.

    However, it is important to recognise that gains won by anti-water charge campaigners are retained. There will be no immediate return to general water charges. Those who didn’t pay will not be pursued and those who did pay will receive refunds. The metering of additional existing and unrefurbished dwellings remains halted.  The anti-water charges campaign has also achieved an increased allowance for those on group schemes.

    The recommendation that a referendum be held to change the constitution to prevent privatisation of water services, also, remains.

    However the U-turn amendments make domestic water a tradeable commodity under EU Law. Payment for excessive use to Irish Water Ltd.  commodifies water. This facilitates the phasing back in of water charges over time. Government can reduce the free allowance thus making increasing amounts of water chargeable. This may also be used to prevent the holding of the anti-privatisation referendum or to change the wording as new private suppliers of water are entitled to enter the market under EU Competition Law.  This was facilitated by FF agreeing with FG that the abolition of Irish Water LTD. Would be outside the terms of reference of the Oireachtas Committee

    In addition, FF have also conceded that metering of new builds and refurbishments will continue in a further U-turn

    Fianna Fáil has proven again that it cannot be trusted.

    We will campaign with the same vigour against these U-turns as we campaigned for the gains already achieved.

     

    We Already Pay For Water.  We will not pay a second time.

    Fine Gael, the Independents, Labour, the Greens, and indeed Fianna Fáil must not be allowed to restore water charges. They will also attempt to increase PAYE and VAT to make us pay for water a second time. We are already paying for water services through existing general taxation. But the money has been diverted to other purposes including tax concessions to the very rich.

    We are already paying by law. After the humiliation of Fine Gael, Labour and Workers Party candidates by anti-water charges campaigner Joe Higgins in the 1996 bye-election, Brendan Howlin from the then FG-Lab-WP government abolished water charges and transferred the cost on to motor tax and other existing duties and fees in the 1997 Act.

    There is no technical difficulty in retrieving this money for water services by imposing additional taxes on the massive incomes and financial assets Irish super-rich. But Fine Gael and the Independents, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Greens steadfastly refuse to tax this huge wealth.

    The shares and bank deposits of the Irish super-rich are now worth 35 Billion Euro more than at peak boom level in 2006 and 70 billion above “bust” level in 2008. These huge gains are due to the sacrifices and the hardship endured by the blameless majority. When all wealth is considered, the richest 300 Irish People have total assets of 100.03 Billion Euro, a gain of 12 billion in the past year according to the Sunday Independent. That is an average of 333 million each.

    It is time the super-rich gave back something. I will be advocating in the Dáil that significant taxes be imposed on these assets to pay for improved public services

    There must be no increase in taxation such as PAYE, VAT or Motor Tax etc to make us pay for water a second time.

    I will also be advocating at the legislative stage in the Dáil that Irish Water Ltd be abolished and its functions returned to local authorities and the Department of the Environment.

    We must remain organised in the Right2Water Campaign. Fine Gael and the Independents, Fianna Fáil, Labour, and the Greens are hell bent on using water charges and additional taxation to soak the citizens generally in order to protect the massive incomes and assets of the Irish Super-Rich.

    Let us continue to resist this agenda!

    Bí Ullamh!   Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile !

     

    Seamus Healy T.D.                                                                            12/4/2017

    Tel 087 2802199

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    Water Charges Demo 08/04-Slogans Heard

    “We Already Pay for Water-No Way We Wont Pay (Again)”

    “LABOUR, BLUESHIRTS, FIANNA FAIL-JAIL, JAIL, JAIL THEM ALL”

    “Don’t Stack The Jobstown Jury”

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    Defend Right To Protest and Right To Free Speech -Activists May Be Jailed To-day

    Jobstown- Assembly For Justice- Protest Is not A Crime

    Saturday next,Apr 1, 1 pm, Liberty Hall

    It appears that the state is targeting Éirigí’s Scott Masterson and Solidarity’s Paul Murphy in particular – to stop them speaking at a Jobstown Not Guilty rally in Liberty Hall on Saturday-BE THERE!

    In response to the state’s attempt to silence the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign a number of defendants have tonight decided that they will not be giving the state the bail commitments that it is seeking.

    This may well result in a number of defendants having their bail revoked tomorrow and them being jailed from today until their trial concludes in May or June
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    8

Does SIPTU Support This?

Labour Party Supports Continued Charging for Domestic Water and Continuation of Metering of Households

Draft Working Document of Oireachtas Committee on Future Funding of Water Services

38. We believe that there should be a charge for excessive use and the only way to determine that is by household meters(Labour Party)

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Submission by Seamus Healy TD, Independent Deputy for Co Tipperary,  To the Oireachtas Commission on Future Funding of Water Services

I contested the last general election on the basis of supporting the complete abolition of domestic water charges . That continues to be my position. I support the funding of domestic water services through proportional and equitable taxation of incomes . Citizens are already paying for domestic water services through general taxation. Domestic Water charges are a form of inequitable double taxation which bears most heavily on those on lower incomes.

I am opposed to the commodification of domestic water services. Water must remain a public good and must not become a marketable commodity. Accordingly I am opposed to a charge for “excessive use of domestic water”. Such a charge would provide a basis for the restoration of domestic water charges generally over time. Prevention of large scale waste of water should occur through the imposition of legal penalties under existing legislation. If necessary the provisions of the 2007 Act could be strengthened.

I accept the evidence of expert witnesses at the Oireachtas Committee to the effect that attempted  conservation of water through metering of domestic dwellings is ineffective and grossly wasteful of public funds. District metering is perfectly adequate and efficient for conservation purposes. I am opposed to the continuation of metering of domestic dwellings.

The state should provide large scale systematic support for water conservation measures through capital investment and grants.

I support the holding of a referendum to insert a clause into the Constitution to prohibit the privatisation of the provision of domestic water services . In particular,  I support the amendment advocated by Senior Counsel, Séamus Ó Tuathail before the Oireachtas Committee.

I believe that the utility company called Irish Water should be abolished and that water services should be provided by the appropriate government  ministry in co-operation with local authorities. Employees should be offered transfer to under-staffed local authority and central government services.

I accept the legal opinion of eminent counsel who have testified that the clause 9.4 exemption from charging for domestic water remains in place. However, should the EU authorities refuse to accept this view, I believe that the Irish government should refuse to charge for provision of domestic water. The Irish Government must insist that the “9.4 exemption” for Ireland be included in the next EU River Basin Management Plan

As the imposition of domestic water charges was always unjustified, those who have not paid should not be pursued for payment and those who have paid should be fully refunded.

Equity of funding should be provided by the state to Group Water Schemes.

 

Seamus Healy TD    Independent Deputy for Co Tipperary     087-2802199

 

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FULLY ABOLISH WATER CHARGES !!

Seamus Healy TD on TippFm -Tipp To-Day

CLICK HERE

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/tippfm/episodes/2017-03-01T03_27_25-08_00

Keep Up The Pressure Until Final Victory!

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OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE ON FUTURE FUNDING OF WATER SERVICES-STATE OF PLAY

CHARGE FOR EXCESSIVE USE OF DOMESTIC WATER IS JUST A TRICK TO COMMODIFY DOMESTIC WATER AND TO RE-INTRODUCE DOMESTIC WATER CHARGES BY THE BACK DOOR AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION

FOR A CHARGE FOR “EXCESSIVE USE”   F

Against a Charge for” Excessive Use”      A

Colm Brophy  Fine Gael            F
Mary Butler  Fianna Fáil          A
Barry Cowen  Fianna Fáil           A
Jim Daly  Fine Gael              F
Alan Farrell  Fine Gael              F
Noel Grealish  Independent        ?
Seamus Healy  Independent        A
Martin Heydon  Fine Gael              F
John Lahart  Fianna Fáil           A
Paul Murphy  AAA – PBP            A
Eoin Ó Broin Sinn Féin               A
Jonathan O’Brien Sinn Féin               A
Kate O’Connell Fine Gael               F
Willie O’Dea Fianna Fáil             A
Jan O’Sullivan Labour Party          F
Thomas Pringle Independent          A
Senators
Paudie Coffey Fine Gael                F
Lorraine Clifford-Lee Fianna Fáil             A
Grace O’Sullivan (CE-GREEN)           F

Sen Padraig O Ceide   Chair                ?

For                8——(FG, Lab, Green)

Against      10     (FF, SF, AAA-PBP,  S Healy, T Pringle)

UNDECLARED      Noel Grealish TD        Padraig O Ceide   Chair

The chair of an Oireachtas Committee doe not have a casting vote

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No Charge or Extra Taxation To Pay for Water Twice-Statement By Seamus Healy TD

Double Taxation To Pay for Domestic Water a Second Time Recommended by Commission

(Comprehensive Analysis of Commission Report by Cllr Brendan Young and Community Solidarity N. Kildare Further Down)

Double Taxation To Pay for Domestic Water a Second Time Recommended by Commission Seamus Healy TD (Member of Oireachtas Committee on Water Services) calls for complete abolition of Domestic Water Charges, opposes any payment for domestic water and rejects any extra taxation to pay for water twice including a new dedicated water tax similar to Local Property Tax (LPT). Irish Water must be abolished. I have been nominated to the Oireachtas Committee On Water Services. I will be resisting these recommendations.

I will also be organising and participating in mass marches against the implementation of these recommendations

A majority, 90 of the 158 Teachtaí Dála (TD’s) elected in the last general election were elected on the basis of complete abolition of water charges and The Irish Water utility. The combination of Expert Commission-Oireachtas Committee-Dáil Vote in March was devised by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael after the General Election to negate the democratic vote of the people and bring back water charges.

The Commission essentially recommends that households pay for water twice through a combination of charges and taxes. The Report states:

“5.2.17 The recommended Funding Model, if implemented, will place the main burden of financing the operational cost of providing domestic water services on the exchequer to be paid for through taxation. The Question of whether there should be a dedicated tax, a broadly based fiscal instrument, or an adjustment to existing taxes to fund this requirement would be a matter of Budgetary Policy and outside the scope of this report, but is worthy of further consideration.”-Commission Report Page 35

The underlying assumption in the above recommendation is that domestic water should be paid for by the citizens for a second time. This must be firmly rejected.

New “Dedicated Tax” suggests an LPT style arrangement which would convert a charges system to a tax liability which can be compulsorily deducted from income at source. This can be imposed on households with no taxable income (e.g. social welfare/low pay).

“A broadly based Fiscal Instrument” means that there would be a specific provision in law for some kind of water or house tax including water tax. This can be imposed on households with no taxable income (e.g. social welfare/low pay)

“Adjustment to Existing Taxes” means that there should be a general tax increase to pay a second time for water through an adjustment of rates/bands/ allowances/ tax credits.

The commission has also recommended that Irish Water be retained and that charges be imposed for extra usage.

Refuse charges were originally introduced at €5. Now hundreds of Euro are payable. The same will happen with water if there is any charge for water under any guise.

I have been nominated to the Oireachtas Committee On Water Services. I will be resisting these recommendations. I will also be organising and participating in mass marches against the implementation of these recommendations. The money which is being paid and was being paid for water services through taxation for many years was not used for water services but was given to others and is being spent for other purposes. It is being used to fund part of the 7 Billion in interest being paid annually on money borrowed to bail out banks and billionaire bondholders. It is also being used partly to fund the 172 million reductions of personal taxes on the top 5% of income recipients on an average of 186,000Eu per year.

The 172 million tax reduction must be cancelled. A tax on the Financial Assets of the top 10% whose financial assets are now 35 billion above peak boom level could be used to fully fund water services.

Water charges and Irish water Must Be fully abolished. Domestic water must not be commodified. We will not pay Twice Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199

 ————————-

Analysis

Report of Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services

Double Taxation  To Pay for Water a Second Time Water Recommended by Commission

“5.2.17  The recommended Funding Model, if implemented, will place the main burden of financing the operational cost of providing domestic water services on the exchequer to be paid for through taxation. The Question of whether there should be a dedicated tax, a broadly based fiscal instrument, or an adjustment to existing taxes to fund this requirement would be a matter of Budgetary Policy and outside the scope of this report, but is worthy of further consideration.”-Commission Report Page 35

The underlying assumption in the above recommendation is that domestic water should be paid for by the citizens for a second time. This must be firmly rejected.

New  “Dedicated Tax” suggests an LPT style arrangement which would convert a charges system to a tax liability which can be compulsorily deducted from income at source. This can be imposed on deprived househols with no taxable income (eg socia welare)

“A boadly based Fiscal Instrument” means that there would be a specific provision in law for some kind of water or house tax including water tax. This can be imposed on deprived househols with no taxable income (eg socia welare)

“Adjustment to Existing Taxes” means that there should be a general tax increase to pay a second time for water through an adjustment of rates/bands/ allowances/ tax credits.

The money which is being paid and was being paid  for water services through taxation for many years was not used for water services BUT WAS GIVEN TO OTHERS AND IS BEING SPENT FOR OTHER PURPOSES. It is being used to und part of the 7 Billion in interest being paid annually on money borrowed to bail out banks and billionaire bondholders. It is also being used partly to fund the 172 million reduction of personal taxes on the top 5% of income recipients  on an average of 186,000Eu per year.

The 172 billion tax reduction must be cancelled. A tax on the Financial Assets of the top 10% whose financial assets are now 35 billion above peak boom level could be used to fully fund water services.

Water charges and Irish water Must Be fully abolished. We will not pay Twice

For Complete Abolition of Water Charges-Seamus Healy TD(member of Oireachtas Committee on Water Services) on TippFM

Click Here for Recording     https://youtu.be/zbiCeYguBHA

Healy Opposes Double Taxation to Pay For Domestic Water

——————————————

Expert Commission Report on Water Charges:
Community Solidarity North-Kildare response and proposals. 3 December 2016.

The recommendation by the water charge commission that water for domestic consumption should be funded from general taxation (5.2.2) is a victory for the movement against the water charges. The Report acknowledges the political reality that a majority do not support water charges (4.7). Mass mobilisation and non-payment were central to this – and the unacknowledged reality that massive numbers of non-payers could not be brought to court to be forced to pay: they were the key to victory.
No new water taxes!
While this is a victory, it is only temporary if the charges are not completely abolished. The Report suggests new, additional taxes to fund water services (p.1). The recently reported FF discussion, with FG agreement, on a joint LPT-water tax from 2019 shows the direction of establishment thinking.
We oppose any new taxes to fund water services – other than proper taxation of big business (the €13 billion owed by Apple would fund infrastructure) and taxes on the rich and their wealth.
No rationale that metering and charging is effective in reducing consumption or waste
The Report says that ‘allowances’ for ‘normal’ consumption should be funded from general taxation but proposes that ‘wasteful use’ should incur charges (5.2.2 and 5.2.3). Metering is the only way this can be monitored. But it also says that any ‘generous’ initial ‘allowance’ could be changed in the future (5.4.3).
It says ‘wasteful use’ is small (2.3.5); and that domestic consumption in Ireland is at the lower end of European consumption (2.3.6) – where metering is widespread. The evidence in Britain is that metering makes little difference in average domestic consumption. http://www.heednet.info/meteringdefraHEEDnet.pdf (p.4)                                                           So there is no rationale in the Report for metering to reduce consumption.

The evidence in the Report is that the annual costs of metering and billing (operating costs of IW, p.34) is far greater than any charges that could be recouped from households – less than 7% – for supposedly ‘wasteful use’ (see example below). Yet only half of commercial water charges are collected (2.4.22). Water used for business generates profits which are privately appropriated – while the costs of the water are socialised.
Nor does the Report give evidence that the money spent on metering and billing would conserve more water than equivalent spending on conservation measures: while metering might save at best 6% (2.3.8), other measures might save up to 25% (harvesting for outdoor use; grey water for flushing; p.60).

The proposal for metered ‘allowances’ and charges to stop ‘wasteful use’ is actually cover for a perspective of reducing these ‘allowances’ and charging in the future – justified by the false argument that charges significantly reduce consumption.
Any regime that includes universal domestic metering will inevitably lead to water charges – initially to pay the annual cost of metering and billing people who supposedly use water ‘wastefully’. Consistent excess-use can be identified through district metering and such users characterized as commercial users (if appropriate) and charged accordingly. To argue for charges to stop ‘wasteful use’ is a sham argument to justify domestic metering; the only rationale for domestic metering is domestic water charges at a later date. We oppose them.
Political demands:
Abolish domestic water charges completely.
Abolish IW and set up a national water authority to co-ordinate and rationalize the operation of the water service in conjunction with the Local Councils.
Referendum to prevent privatization of Ireland’s water services
No new taxes: fund investment in water infrastructure through tax on big business and the rich.                                                                                                                                                             Fianna Fáil and Independents must be forced to oppose Fine Gael plans for domestic water charges

Agitational proposals:

Scrap the meters. Take out your meter and return it to your local Council – the main contractor for IW.
Boycott IW – don’t respond to requests for household information to determine allowances, etc.
Protest: mobilise for a mass demonstration before the Dáil vote in March 2017
‘Wasteful use’ – metering costs much more than ‘savings’
The data from IW shows that domestic consumption in Ireland is at the lower range of European consumption (2.3.6), where metering is widespread – so there is little to gain from it here. It says there is little evidence of actual ‘wasteful usage’ (2.3.5). At present only 7% of metered households use significantly (six times) more water than the average and IW admits this is mostly from leaks.
The Report gives no evidence to support the installation and maintenance of 1.4 million meters to try to impose charges to reduce a small amount of supposed ‘wasteful usage’.
For example: if a four-person household uses six times the ‘normal’ amount of water – which IW estimates at about 129m3/yr – and are charged for the extra 645m3 that they use, they would pay about €2385 at current IW rates of €3.7 per m3.
If 5% (after leaks are eliminated) of the 1.4 million metered households do this, the income to IW would be about €167 million. This would probably fall after the first year as ‘wasteful users’ reduce what they use.
But the annual operating costs of IW is €794 million for 2015 and €779 million in 2014 (p.34), with more than half a million meters yet to be installed – meaning increased operating costs down the line.
Money recouped from ‘wasteful use’ charges will come nowhere near the cost of the metering and billing system. But in order not to undermine its own proposal, the Report gives no cost comparison. The British evidence is that most of the supposedly excessive consumption is leak-related. Leak-related consumption can be traced by means of district metering.
It is notable that the Report says Local Councils only manage to collect about half of the water charges to commercial users (2.4.22): businesses use water for private profit – while the cost of the water is paid by all.
Metering is a pointless expense unless it is used to charge for water. The Report says that any initial ‘generous’ consumption allowance could be changed in the future (5.4.3) once metering is established.
Stopping waste is a cover argument to justify metering – for universal water charges in the future.
‘Conservation’ – no evidence that metering is more effective
IW has claimed up to 10% reduced domestic consumption due to metering. The evidence in Britain however, is that metering makes little difference in average domestic consumption once leaks are fixed (see below).
The Report says IW estimates a maximum reduction of 6% from metering (2.3.8).
Domestic consumption in Ireland is about 41% of total consumption. So domestic metering might reduce overall consumption by a max of 2.5% (6% of 41%).
Meanwhile the Report admits that losses from the network are a minimum 20% and rise to nearly 50% of treated water – requiring investment of between €5 and €13 billion (2.4.26). District metering is more effective for conserving water because it can identify leaks from the network and because it is much cheaper than the costs of installation, maintenance and replacement of individual meters – up to 1.4 million of them
at an initial installation cost of at least €540 million.
We fully support water conservation, which would also reduce the energy used for water treatment. While water harvesting is mentioned in the Report, it was not included by FG-Labour in the recently revised building regulations and could significantly reduce the 5% of domestic water for ‘outdoor use’ (p.60).
Nor does this Report mention the re-use of ‘grey’ water (from hand-basins, showers, baths) for toilet flushing, which accounts for 21.6% of domestic consumption (p.60).
The Report does not compare the cost of metering and billing, which might reduce domestic consumption by 6%, to the cost of water harvesting and use of grey water for flushing – which together could reduce domestic consumption by up to 25% (p.60).
The money proposed for metering and billing every year (operating costs of IW) would bring far greater reductions in consumption if spent on conservation measures. But conservation is not what this is about.Water metering is only rational as preparation for universal water charges at a later stage.
Allowances and waivers – remember the bin charges
The Report proposes that the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) would be responsible for setting the size of the personal allowance and for setting the charge rates. (5.2.5 and 5.2.6) An ‘allowances’ system needs metering to make sure people don’t use more – but metering for excess-use costs more than it can recoup.
The Report however, reveals its true intentions when it says that any ‘generous’ initial allowance could be changed in the future (5.4.3) – to supposedly reduce consumption.
So the proposals for metered ‘allowances’ to stop ‘wasteful use’ are actually cover for a perspective of reduced ‘allowances’ and increased charges in the future – justified by the false argument that charges reduce consumption.
The bin charges show what is likely to happen: allowances would start high and fall steadily, while charges would start low and rise steadily.
Even prior to deregulation of energy pricing, the CER has consistently allowed gas and electricity charges to
rise above the rate of inflation and the Consumer Price Index. (see Bonkers.ie) If PPP or other ‘off-balancesheet’ private funding is to be used to pay for water infrastructure and the private companies want increased prices, there will be pressure to reduce ‘allowances’ and increase charges. CER won’t stop this.
CER sets the very significant subsidies to private wind energy producers – paid from the PSO electricity /gas levy. The ‘renewables’ levy ensures profitability for the wind-farm operators – over and above the cost of producing wind energy. There is no reason CER would not do the same for water / waste-water treatment by private companies with future PPP contracts.
Waivers should not be believed: waivers for bin charges have disappeared and it is not clear if any bin charge waivers will apply for people with special needs (carers who use nappies and have heavy bins, etc) if/when pay-by-weight is introduced.
Constitutional impediment to privatisation of water system
A commitment in the constitution not to privatise Ireland’s water services would be welcome. We support a referendum for this. But it should not become a substitute for demanding the abolition of charges, the dismantling of IW and action to stop the imposition of domestic water charges in any form.
Opposition to privatisation is based on support for access to water, irrespective of income; and concerns
about price increases – and where the profits would go. In the context of the existing system, a constitutional commitment to public ownership would have little real meaning unless it excluded future PPP’s or equivalent long-term contracts for maintenance and operation of the system – apart from initial construction.
There is already significant part-privatisation: NERI (2013) cites 66 water treatment plants as being PPP. All new water treatment plants are DFBO (Design, Finance, Build, Operate) by private companies on long-term contracts. The enquiries operation for IW has been outsourced to Abtran – a private multinational. So the Irish state, through bypassing local Councils as the direct builders / maintenance organisations, has already
part privatised the system by contracting out the construction and operation of water / waste-water treatment plants to private multinationals and guaranteed them a profitable revenue stream.
Operation of the network has not been contracted out – because it is not profitable and in need of big investment. But the existing 12-year SLA’s (Service Level Agreements), whereby the Councils do the repair and maintenance work for IW, are unlikely to be renewed when they come to an end. There will probably be a process of EU-wide tendering for the contracts – which would go to the lowest bidder, rather like the way Sierra and K&N do most of the work on the gas service that was previously done by Bord Gáis employees.
Even if IW – as the utility which had overall responsibility for water services – could not be privatised, the revenue it would get from charging the state for domestic water services would be diverted to private contractors through outsourcing. This needs to be considered along with opposition to privatisation.
Charges – pay for bank bailout and tax cuts for big business & the rich
The underlying rationale for water charges is to raise revenue to continue state-funding of the bank bailout while simultaneously tax-cutting for big business and the rich.
By the end of 2014, IBRC (Anglo Irish and others) had been the biggest financial drain on the State with a net cost of €36.1 billion. Interest on bank debt alone is between €1 billion to €1.7 billion per year (Julien Mercille, Broadsheet 5 Oct 2015; Irish Times 30-9-2015). Successive FF and FG-Labour governments agreed to pay the equivalent of 25% of GDP between 2007-2011 to bail out the banks (Michael Taft).
The miniscule tax paid by the likes of Cerberus shows the tax breaks that FF and FG give to big business.
The cost of water services is about €1 billion per year – less than the interest on the bank debt.
The decision by FF and FG-Labour that the Irish state should borrow money to pay the speculator debts of the banks, and the interest on those borrowings, is why there is a lack of investment to deal with the crisis in the water infrastructure – and why they want to impose water charges. There should be a moratorium on payment of bank-related debt and an audit of that debt with a view to repudiating it.
How to fund water infrastructure
Between €5 billion and €13 billion investment is required (2.4.26). Tax the multinationals / tax wealth: see AAA – PBPA budget submission.

(THE FINANCIAL ASSETS ALONE of the Richest 10% of households are now 37 Billion above peak boom level in 2006. Tactically, I believe we should concentrate on this rather than raising the issue of taxation of multi-nationals. The latter enables our enemies to confuse people by raising the jobs issue. See IRISH SUPER_RICH AWASH WITH MONEY elsewhere ON THIS BLOG-Paddy Healy)
Notes:
Do Water Meters Reduce Domestic Consumption? a summary of available literature. 2011.“Thus, on the UK evidence, the true impact of metering needs to be seen in terms of better leak detection, reduced peak consumption and little difference in average
consumption in exchange for higher cost and complexity in customer billing and management.”(p.4)
http://www.heednet.info/metering-defraHEEDnet.pdf
2.3.5 Irish Water presented consumption data to the Expert Commission based on metered consumption to date, which indicated that domestic consumption is relatively low in Ireland with average consumption of 123 liters per capita (compared, for example, to 140 liters per capita in the UK). This metered data also indicated that 7% of households are using six times more water than the average household, although Irish Water indicated this level of consumption is likely to decline as customer-side leaks are fixed.
2.3.8 In Ireland, the reduced domestic consumption due to charges was originally projected to be 6%, but Irish Water subsequently indicated that this estimate would have to be modified downwards in the light of the introduction of a cap on charges.
2.4.22 “… the collection rate for commercial water charges was much worse than for other charges with almost half of water charges being unpaid across all local authorities.” (2012:22)
5.2.2 A distinction must, however, be made between a right to water for normal domestic and personal purposes and wasteful usage. The former can reasonably be regarded as a public service that should be funded out of taxation and which the State should
provide for all citizens. Where water is used at a level above those normal requirements, that principle is no longer applicable and the user should pay for this use through tariffs.
5.2.3 Each household that is connected to the public water supply receives an allowance of water and a corresponding allowance of wastewater that corresponds to the accepted level of usage required for domestic and personal needs without any direct charge being levied. This allowance should be related to the number of persons resident in the household and adjusted for special conditions.
5.4.3 …. The allowance to households should be periodically reviewed in an open and transparent way as further consumption data is gathered and with a view to ensure that consumption levels are maintained at levels that are aligned with best practice in water
conservation.

———————————————————–

PROPOSAL OF SEAMUS HEALY TD TO HALT WATER METERING RULED OUT OF ORDER

Seamus Healy TD put down an amendment to halt metering but it has been ruled out of order for Committee Stage(see below). HE  will put it down again for Report Stage but we expect it to be ruled out of order also. The so-called new politics is a sham. We have also been told that any bill or motion or amendment which costs the state money can only be put dowm by government. If proposed by any opposition TD or party, such a motion will be ruled out of order!  Seamus had  submitted several proposals to the Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform including a proposal to enable opposition deputies and parties to table Bills which impact on state finances. His proposal was rejected by the subcommittee majority including  FF members.

Amendment to Water Services(Amendment) Bill 2016  from Seamus Healy TD   087-2802199

Seamus Healy TD wishes to submit the following amendment:

Amendment

In section 2 (a) (ii) on line 16  after Irish Water insert:

“shall suspend the installation of domestic water meters for domestic dwellings on the passing of this Bill by the Oireachtas until the Water Commission Report is laid before the Oireachtas and”

Seamus Healy TD

An Roghchoiste um Thithiocht, Pleanáil agus Rialtas Áitiuil

 

 

Teach Laighean

Baile Átha Cliath 2

 

Teil: (01) 618 3481

R/phost : HPLG@oireachtas.ie

 

 

Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

 

 

Leinster House

Dublin 2

 

Tel: (01) 618 3481

E-mail: HPLG@oireachtas.ie

 

 

 

 

 

05 July 2016

 

 

Deputy Seamus Healy

Dáil Éireann

Houses of the Oireachtas

 

 

 

 

 

Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2016

Committee Stage

 

 

Dear Deputy Healy

 

I must inform you that the amendment 3, tabled by you for Committee Stage of the above Bill, must be ruled out of order as it is not relevant to the provisions of the Bill as read a second time.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________

Maria Bailey T.D.

Chairman of the Select Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labour Leader Howlin Said “ EU law takes precedence over the Irish Constitution and legislation.”

TDs are being asked to ‘break EU law’ by legislating to suspend water charges – Howlin

John Downing  Irish Independent

FORMER Public Spending Minister, Brendan Howlin, has said a law before the Dáil to suspend water charges effectively breaks EU law.

The Labour leader challenged Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald following an assertion yesterday by the EU Environment Commissioner that Ireland has no exemption on water charges.

Commissioner Karmenu Vella said Ireland’s earlier exemption ended in July 2010 when the Fianna Fáil-Green Party Coalition told Brussels they were introducing water charges.

Mr Howlin, who was still a government minister two months ago, said legislation currently going through the Dáil breached EU law.  He said EU law takes precedence over the Irish Constitution and legislation.

“The Oireachtas has never before knowingly been asked to contravene European law,” the Labour leader said.

The Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, said the Government was acting in line with the law and the Constitution and the water legislation will proceed.

She said the issue had been fully debated by Cabinet and a meeting with the EU Commissioner was now scheduled.

Ms Fitzgerald rejected arguments by Anti-Austerity Alliance TD, Paul Murphy, that the EU was seeking to set aside the Irish general election outcome which was a vote against water charges.

MINISTERS HAD NOT PAID WATER CHARGES BUT HAVE NOW CAPITULATED TO FG!!!

Minister Finian McGrath and soon to be elevated John Halligan have not paid water charges-Non-Payers Vindicated-Why should anybody continue to pay recent bills?
Many ill, old and vulnerable people were terrified into paying. There should be a full refund and full abolition of charges
——————————————-

Dáil Speech by Seamus Healy TD Demanding Full Abolition of Water Charges  27/04/2016

Listen here

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B11TATMMt6heZlpaXzFWbDJhQ3c/view?pref=2&pli=1

I stood in the recent general election as a Right2Water and Right2Change candidate and have been involved in the movement since the initial stages. I congratulate all water campaigners around the country who in the past two and a half or three years stood up to be counted. Hundreds of thousands of people went out onto the streets. Community campaigners, anti-metering protestors and those who fought Irish Water on every street and estate and in every village, town and city stood up to be counted. They also stood up to the political parties. People power has won its first victory against water charges. Those involved have forced the political parties to retreat. The emerging deal – a fudge – is the first victory as the Government and Fianna Fáil have been forced to back down, but they did not do so voluntarily. They did it under the pressure exerted by people power. A word of caution to everyone involved in the campaign: he or she should stay organised and continue to resist metering. The political parties are treacherous and may attempt to reintroduce water charges. Today’s bad tempered rant by the caretaker Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, may be an indication of what is to come. If we stay organised and continue to resist metering, however, water charges will be dead and buried.

As we have said from the beginning, water charges are unjust and represent double taxation. They were the straw that broke the camel’s back among people who had been devastated by austerity, in particular low and middle income families. A motion on the Order Paper that has been signed by 39 Deputies calls for the abolition of water charges and the enshrining in the Constitution of the public ownership of water infrastructure. It should be debated urgently, but, unfortunately, Fianna Fáil has agreed with Fine Gael to prevent that from happening. I appeal to Fianna Fáil, the Members of which where elected on a pledge to end water charges, to allow the motion to be tabled and voted on, as there is a majority in the House in favour of abolishing water charges. Irish Water must be abolished as it has been a disaster for ordinary people. We must also ensure the many people who paid their water charges under duress – the elderly people who were afraid and people who were ill and worried certainly did not pay voluntarily – will have their money refunded. It is important that the legislation underpinning domestic water charges is repealed. I appeal to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to allow the motion on the Order Paper to be debated and voted on so as to put water charges and Irish Water to bed once and for all.

——————————————————————–

First Victory for Water Charges Campaign, the marchers, the meter resisters, the payment boycotters
Huge Defeat for Alan Kelly and Labour

“Suspesion or abolition of water charges is political, economic ad environmental sabotage-environmental treason” Alan Kelly TD Dáil Eireann 27/04/2016

Is what is happening now legal under EU directives?   RTE News at 6 27/04/2016—Alan Kelly TD

http://wp.me/pKzXa-nC

BUT STAY ORGANISED-BEWARE OF EU INTERVENTION

Continue to Resist Metering

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly:  declined to comment on negotiations around the potential scrapping of water charges. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly-Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Water charges Gone for duration of Government -unless EU intervenes!

The commission is to report to an oireachtas committe. Unlike Banking inquiry, government will not have a majority on this Committee—FF and oppsition will!

This committee will report to the Dail which will vote on whether the suspension of water charges should be ended and charging for water resumed. The government will not have a majority in the Dail!
The trickery is to camouflage an agreement to suspend charges for duration of government.
We must stay organised. The charges are still on the statute book. They can be reactivated at any time. The threat of fines by EU could be the trigger. The resistance to metering must continue.

Everybody who paid should get their money back. Many vulnerable and/or old people were terrified of owing money and more terrified of ending up in court. They were bullied into paying

 New Vote on Taking Motion to Abolish Water Charges

FG, FF, Labour Block Discussion. But the vote for discussion on the motion increases from 39 to 49

26/04/2016

Question put: “That the proposal for the adjournment tonight be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 83; Níl, 49.

Níl
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Michael Moynihan; Níl, Deputies Ruth Coppinger and Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Question declared carried.

HEALY RAE(M), Dr Harty and Mattie McGrath Support Taoiseach in Refusing to allow Motion for Abolition of Water Charges on Dáil Agenda

A motion to abolish water charges has been on the Dail agenda since the first meeting of the new Dail, almost 8 weeks ago. It now has 33 signatures.

Yesterday,20/04/2016, Taoiseach Kenny proposed an order of business for the sitting which did not include the motion. Despite many requests from Dáil deputies to include the motion, Taoiseach Kenny refused. Pro-abolition deputies then called on TDs to vote against the order of business. Effectively those who voted Tá(Yes) supported the Taoiseachs decision to exclude the abolition motion. Those voting Níl(No) wanted to have the abolition motion debated.

FF, FG and Labour and a number of independents voted to support Taoiseach Kenny’s exclusion of the abolition motion from the agenda

The official voting record below deserves study

Question put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 82; Níl, 39.

Níl
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Michael Moynihan; Níl, Deputies Richard Boyd Barrett and Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Question declared carried.

————————————

Positive Meeting Of Anti-Water Charges Activists-Report Cllr. Brendan Young

 

At a positive meeting of anti-water-charge activists on April 16 (attendees below) a wide-ranging
discussion took place and the following was agreed:
1. With regard to the public discussion on the formation of the next government, we are opposed to the
movement against the water charge calling for TDs to vote for a government of the parties
responsible for the austerity imposed to pay for the bank bailout – including the water charge;
2. Instead we support a call for all TDs who say, or have said, they oppose the water charge to vote to
immediately abolish the water charge and to immediately abolish IW when a Bill to that effect is put
before the Dail;
3. We are aware of discussions amongst anti-water-charge TDs on drafting a Bill and look forward to
seeing that draft Bill in the coming week;
4. We are in favour of such a Bill being a cross-party Bill, rather than a Bill presented by any one party;
5. We are in favour of all TDs who say they oppose the water charges being asked to sign this Bill;
6. While we support a Bill being put to the Dail, we regard mass non-payment as key to defeating the
water charge and are committed to promoting the boycott of the charge;
7. We are in favour of a national demonstration against the water charge – and in support of a Bill to
abolish the charge and abolish IW – involving all who oppose the water charge;
8. We are aware that a Bill will not be put to the Dail until after the formation of the next government;
we favor a demonstration before the formation of the next government;
9. We are aware of discussions taking place, amongst the TDs and parties involved in the drafting of a
Bill, on the possibility of a national demonstration – and the possibility that these TDs and parties
may agree to call a national demonstration; we look forward to hearing the outcome of this
discussion in the coming week;
10. We agree to a press conference being called, involving broad participation of anti water charge TDs,
in response to IW payment figures when they are announced in the coming week;
11. We support a visible mobilisation of all who oppose the water charge at the Reclaim the Vision of
1916 event on Sunday April 24 in Dublin – assemble in Merrion Sq at 14.00 and bring banners; the
organisers ask anti-water charge groups to join the parade behind the banner ‘Irish Republic –
ownership of Ireland’
12. We are in favour of a national day of action against the water charge in the near future –
provisionally on Saturday April 30, depending on the outcome of the discussion on calling a
national demonstration mentioned above – and will discuss this at our next meeting;
13. In the event that the incoming government does not scrap the water charge, we support open
discussion and democratic decision-making in the next phase of the campaign;
14. we agree that there is a need for systematic work on social media; we will discuss how best to do this
at our next meeting;
15. We will meet again at 14.00 – 16.00 in the Teachers Club, Parnell Sq on Sat April 23. This meeting
is open to all who oppose the water charge and we will publicise the meeting as much as possible.
Attendance: Paddy Healy, Sean Heffernan, Seamus McDonagh, John Lyons, Donall O’Ceallaigh, Garrett
Banks, Joe Kelly, Enda Craig, James Quigley, Shane Fitzgerald, Eddie Doyle, Joanne Pender, Liz Wilders,
Mary O’Donnell, John Meehan, Aaron Nolan, Paul Murphy, Ciara Hendrick, Evelyn Campbell, Pat Waine,
Brendan Young.
Report: Brendan Young. 18 April 2016.

———————————

New Treachery of FF-FG on Water Charges

Water and Home taxes to be Merged?

Time to get Back on Streets!!!

From Irish Independent 11/04/16

Fianna Fáil wants to suspend charges and abolish Irish Water in favour of a national directorate, while Fine Gael insists that payments for water must stay.

The Irish Independent has learned that figures in both parties are now talking up the idea of “amalgamating” water charges and the property tax into a so-called “household package”.

This would allow Fianna Fáil to claim that charges have been effectively scrapped, while still potentially satisfying EU rules, according to a senior Fine Gael source. A high-ranking Fianna Fáil figure said the move could “bridge the gap” between the two parties.

Sinn Féin on Water Charges Again

The sooner we all get back on the streets in united opposition to water charges the better. This crisis of rule of the rich is our opportunity!

Why Does Sinn Fein not suspend the proposal for a Commission until the water charges have already been abolished? That would dispel all confusion.

There has been, indeed, mischief-making in the media in relation to the SF position on water charges. The papers were so intent on the mischief that they failed to ask the really pertinent  questions.

The fact that SF has and is proposing the abolition of water charges in Dail motions is praiseworthy and should be supported. There is no incompatability between that fact and the questions posed here in view of the large Dáil majority in favour of water charges. I fully support the SF Dáil motion for abolition, but I know that FG+FF+Lab=100 deputies out of 158 will either prevent it being discussed or vote it down.

Letter to Irish Independent  from Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin President, Sat 09/04/2016

Before reading the letter from Gerry Adams hereunder, consider the following:

The policy re-iterated in the letter is that put forward by Sinn Féin in the General Election. Since then 101 FG+FF+Lab TDs out of 158  have been elected to the Dail. Several other deputies are also in favour of water charges. There are approximately 118 deputies opposed to the abolition of water charges and 40 in favour of abolition.

FF favours suspension of water charges for 5 years but is opposed to abolition. Even if this suspension occurred the charges would still be on the statute book and could be revived by government at any time. It is at least possible that the FF position on water charges is merely designed to facilitate FF entry into government. Having entered government it is probable that FF would buckle to EU legal threats and use these threats to renege on  the suspension and continue the charges .

The “independent commission” proposed by Sinn Féin is an Oireachtas Commission which would report back to Government in 9 months. This means that the membership and terms of reference of the commission would be set by the 100+ deputies who are opposed to abolition of water charges.

The questions that arise from the Gerry Adams  and Eoin O’Broin (further down) material on this matter in media  are:

Why did experienced SF politicians not reply to reporters questions on the terms of reference of the Commission in the following manner “Water Charges would have been already abolished, so the question of their continuation would not arise” ?

 Why, instead of the above, the concentration on the protection  which terms of reference would give? After the election, it is now clear that these terms of reference would be set by the large Dáil majority supporting the continuation of water charges?

Why does SF not suspend the proposal for an Oireachtas Commission until there is a Dáil majority for abolition?

Are the “4 steps” in the Gerry Adams’ letter, which were fine during the election campaign, now merely for use  as a negotiating document with other parties?

Letter to Irish Independent  from Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin President, Sat 09/04/2016

The Irish Independent claimed that Sinn Féin’s position in relation to water charges is in tatters(April 6). This is not true. Sinn Féin has consistently said that we would establish an independent commission to examine the most appropriate model of public utility to replace the flawed Irish Water model. It’s not that hard to understand. All commissions are given terms of reference.  They couldn’t function other wise.

Allow me to set out the Sinn Féin position in clear terms for your readers. There are four steps in the Sinn Féin position:

  1. Abolish Water Charges to take place with immediate effect.
  2. Abolish Irish Water-to be concluded within one year
  3. Establish an independent commission on water services to examine the most appropriate model of public utility to replace the flawed Irish Water model  -to report back within nine months

(An Phoblacht March 19,2016 We said we would establish an independent Commission on Water Services to examine the most appropriate public ownership model to replace Irish Water which would report back to Government within nine months.)

 

  1. Hold a referendum to enshrine the ownership of Ireland’s water as a human resource in the Constitution

This is the position as presented to the people in the General election. And is clearly set out in our policy document “Water Charges-A tax too far”. There has been no change in this position whatever.

What there has been is a certain amount of mischief making  by elements of the media

Sinn Féin has also committed to investing an additional  900m  Euro in water infrastructure over 5 years

Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President

PUTTING FG IN GOVERNMENT MEANS WATER

CHARGES WILL CONTINUE

 

But Threat of New Election by FG is Pure Bluff 

FG threats to hold a new election rather than abolish or suspend water charges is pure bluff.
If FG faced SF and the principled left calling for abolition and FF calling for suspension in a general election, FG would not prevail .
What would the Labour Party do?

Irish Independent March 27 is reporting that the FG attempt to assemble 15 “others” to support Kenny for Taoiseach is faltering

From Irish Independent March 26

Fine Gael sources directly involved in the negotiations told the Irish

Independent if Fianna Fáil demands the abolition(really suspension-PH)

of charges “then we’re heading into another election”.

“Water charges are staying and Irish Water is staying. That is not up for negotiation,” said one FG party source.

“The view in the parliamentary party is so robust on this from all sides and the party leadership know that. Middle Ireland is with us on this one.

The majority of Independent TDs who met with Fine Gael this week have not listed water charges on the agenda of items they want urgently addressed.”

———————————————————–

Welcome Initiative By Right2Water Unions and Community Pillar

Bill To abolish Water Charges to be proposed in Dáil

 

full report below

While the lobbying of TDs to support the abolition Bill is progressing we should be preparing a new national day of protest to back the Bill possibly on the Saturday before it is to be debated. An attempt may be made by FF-Fg-Lab to prevent the bill being debated. This could be successful. The national day of action could be focused on this if necessary.

By the way, to correct misleading comments on Facebook
Seamus Healy fully supported the Sinn Fein call to put motion for abolition of water charges on the agenda for today, March 22 when Dail first met. We voted with SF and AAA-PBP against the Kenny proposal which excluded it. Seamus Healy also voted for both Gerry Adams and Richard Boyd-Barret for Taoiseach as both were signatories of Right2Change principles
The above is posted to correct misleading comments

UNIONS & COMMUNITY PILLAR MEET  Monday March 22
Together we can get there
Today in Unite non political activists assembled from counties Louth, Donegal, Carlow. Roscommon, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Meath, Wicklow, Kildare and of course Dublin. Once again people giving of their own time and expenses with nothing in mind but to advance a people’s cause.
The meeting decided that the Right2Water Unions would now draft legislation to abolish Irish Water and charges and, also, to enshrine public ownership of our water and sanitation in our Constitution.
The Unions will publish this legislation and then approach every TD who sought election in opposition to charges and/or Irish Water. We will look for the legislation to be supported not by party interests, but by TD’s voting in alphabetical order regardless of party. People before party in opposition to these water charges was the consensus!!!
It was also unanimously felt that the focus now needs to be on our elected representatives working together and deliver abolition. They have all benefited from the water campaign to get themselves elected. It is now time to deliver. Lobbying and peaceful protesting will be the order of the day until they do.
For the coming weeks this is where the focus will be.
The Unions and the communities have now begun debate and discussion on how a people’s movement can arrive and formalise in the mid to long term to CHANGE the face of Irish politics forever. This dialogue will now intensify in coming months.
Once again, together we can do this.

———————————————————————-

Clarification???: Eoin O Broin(SF) TD has now supplied an article in An Phoblacht, March 19  http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/25839

It contains no clarification or explanation of his remarks in an interview in Irish Times carried below.

Sinn Féin can’t say who would sit on water commission-Irish Independent

 

Irish Independent  Published 19/03/2016 | 02:30   Mark Condren

Sinn Féin cannot say who would sit on a commission it wants to set up to decide the fate of Irish Water.

The party has backed away from its pre-election promise to immediately set about abolishing the utility and now wants to set up a committee to assess how to maintain the water network.If that group was to recommend the retention of Irish Water, then Sinn Féin would abide by that.

“Our position is we would have a commission on Irish Water. The idea of the commission would be to come up with a utility that could deliver a proper water service.

“We’d be talking about investing €900m extra into the water services,” said newly elected TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan.

However, when asked by the Irish Independent who would sit on the commission, Mr Quinlivan replied: “You’re talking hypothetical about a commission.”

——————————————————————–

Independent Commission on WaterServices set up by Dáil Majority????

What on Earth is SF doing on water Charges? SF must clarify this urgently

It is clear from the responses by Eoin Ó Broin (SF) TD below that the “Commission” is to report back in NINE MONTHS TIME BEFORE THE ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES!!!

The Commission is to be set up by the Dáil which means its composition and terms of reference would be determined by FF, FG and Labour.

Policy Point on SinnFein Website

“Establish an independent Commission on Water Services to examine the most appropriate public ownership model to report back to Government within NINE MONTHS”

Eoin O’BroiN SF TD—-Irish Times  

“That’s why actually we think the best thing to do is to form that independent commission on water services to design the best possible model of public ownership.” ——–     On whether Sinn Féin’s commission could recommend the retention of the existing system, Mr Ó Broin said: “I would be very surprised if any body of experts came back saying Irish Water is the best possible model. I don’t think that scenario is likely but I think that if you set up an independent commission and you ask it to look at the best model of public ownership then I do think there is a responsibility to accept its recommendations when it does come back.”

 Dáil Report-Keeping Water Charges Off the Dáil AgendaFF, FG, Labour,GP(1) and some independents voted in Dail for an Order of Business which EXCLUDES ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES as an item from Dail Agenda when House resumes on March 22
Tá 100 Níl 32
Tá : FF, FG, Lab, Gp(1) Mattie Mcgrath, Sean Canney, Michael Fitzmaurice, Denis Naughten, Maureen O SullivanNíl; SF 23, Seamus Healy, Ruth Coppinger, and 7 other left independentsIt was clear that the Taoiseach FG, FF And Lab were determined to keep water charges off the agenda. There was a TWO HOUR debate  Nobody could have been under any illusion about what was at stake.
The Taoiseach had the right under standing orders to agree to a Sinn Féin amemndment to the order of business to allow the SF motion on Water Charges be included on order paper but he explicitly refused.
When SF sought to amend the Taoiseach’s proposal to have the water charges included, the Ceann Comhairle ruled the amendment out of order.
It was clear that the only way to have the charges included was to vote against the motion and to send it back to the Taoiseach for amendment
That is why all the left TDs and Sinn Féin voted against the Taoiseachs motion.Just look at the independents who voted for Kenny’s motion!
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Victory Possible for Right2Water, But Don’t Take it for Granted!Let us redouble our Efforts.Explain to those Paying that they may not get their money back following abolition or “suspension” of Charges

March 2

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Cabinet blocks Irish Water complaints

probe by Ombudsman

 Caroline O’Doherty

 

The Ombudsman has questioned why the Government declined to allow his office investigate complaints against Irish Water and says the move has left the utility’s customers without any independent grievance mechanism.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall, who examines complaints about public bodies, claims Irish Water was needlessly removed from his remit when the company took over water supply and sewerage services from local councils over which he does have jurisdiction.

He says the excuse that Irish Water is a now standalone company does not wash with him, as ombudsmen in other countries have retained powers to investigate water services, even when the ownership or management structure changed.

And he says the decision is particularly hard to stand over considering that Irish Water remains on the State’s books.

 

 

Mr Tyndall says the Commission for Energy Regulation, which has regulatory control over Irish Water, cannot properly investigate the company.

“People who had complaints about Irish Water, just at the point when complaints were starting to grow, had nowhere to go,” he said.

“They can go to the regulator but best practice is that complaints should sit with an independent body, not with the regulator, because some of the things that people are complaining about are what the regulator is telling Irish Water to do.

“So the notion of it being independent just doesn’t work.”

Burton ‘astonished’ at unions in anti-water-charge brigade

Irish Independent  PUBLISHED30/10/2015

 

Tánaiste Joan Burton has lashed out at trade unions who she says don’t consider upgrading the country’s water system to be a priority.

The Labour Party leader said she finds it “astonishing” that some unions are part of the anti-water charge movement, given the scale of problems.

“It’s very odd to have elements of the trade union movement, who appear to be reluctant to accept the idea that water, while absolutely a right, actually has to be funded and paid for,” Ms Burton said.

She was responding to questions about the new Right2Change voting pact, which has the backing of six trade unions including Unite, Mandate, the Communications Workers Union and the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union.

Last night, the newly formed Social Democrats declined to join the movement, which wants left-wing parties and independent election candidates to agree on a vote-transfer pact.

Right2Change has set out a number of policy principles around health, housing, jobs and the abolition of water charges.

Sinn Féin has already signed up but many other left-wing politicians have said that while they back the idea they will not be asking their voters to transfer to Gerry Adams’s party.

In a letter to the leaders of Right2Change, the Social Democrats said that while they commend the group for a proposal built on “sound principles”, they wanted to remain independent heading into their first General Election.

“While we wholly support the principles of Equality, Democracy and Justice which underline the document, we do have a concern that the substance of the entire document amounts to a manifesto.

“Given that we intend to produce our own manifesto, it would not be appropriate for us to sign up to that of another group,” they said.

Asked if the Labour Party would miss the support of the union movement, Ms Burton said the party still had an “enormous amount of support” in the trade unions but some unions had made a political choice.

She said that the six unions needed to realise that water services were in need of repair.

“We need to do it. We have to do it for ourselves, we have to do it for industry, agriculture and for tourism,” she said.

“We’ve had occasions when Dublin has pretty much run out of water.

“We’ve had part of the country where we’ve had ‘boil water’ notices and we’ve had more than 40 spots around the country where we are dumping waste and effluent into rivers, lakes and beaches.”

She added: “I’m a bit astonished really that trade unions wouldn’t consider addressing those issues to be a priority.”

The Tánaiste said she understood why some politicians were not backing the Right2Change voting pact, adding that she was “not surprised that certain groups and parties would not wish to embrace Sinn Féin”.

DEFEND THE JOBSTOWN 27      March Tomorrow Sept 19
Jobstown Not Guilty has called for a major protest TOMORROW Saturday at 1pm at Central Bank. It will march from there to the CCJ.
——————————

After Hugely Successful Right2Water Major National Demonstration, LET US BUILD ON THIS SUCCESS!!!

AFTER TEEU Affiliates to RIGHT2Water, Press YOUR Union to Affiliate! 

Motion 41 Passed at ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference  2015 by a Huge Majority

“That the Waterford Council of Trade Unions calls on Conference to reject imposition of water charges on the Irish people and call for a Constitutional Amendment that ensures water remains in the ownership of the Irish people.”

Waterford Council of Trade Unions

Proposer : Waterford Council of Trade Unions

TEEU, Ireland’s largest craft union (40,000 members) has now affiliated to Right2Water

It joins UNITE, CPSU, CWU, OPATSI and MANDATE in support of the abolition of water charges.

SIPTU and IMPACT are increasingly isolated.

ICTU  BDC has now passed a motion calling on government to abolish water charges.

Is it not time that all unions affiliated to Right2Water?

Please put up motions to your executives calling on them to affiliate without delay. Quote the motion passed at ICTU. I will circulate this shortly.

TUI, ASTI, INTO,IFUT, INMO, PSEU, AHCPS, UCATT should all affiliate now!!!!

Members of Siptu and IMPACT should organise to change their union’s policy

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Seamus Healy TD Welcomes TEEU Support for Right2Water

Busses from Clonmel and Carrick-On-Suir will be going to the protest march in Dublin on Saturday Next

Telephone WUA Office  052-6121883 for booking and further Information

I welcome the huge boost given to the campaign to abolish water charges by the decision of

TEEU Trade Union, Ireland’s giant craft union, 40,000 strong, to affiliate to Right2Water

Let us now give the campaign another big boost by joining the protest march on Saturday next in Dublin

Seamus Healy TD   087-2802199

Water Charges And Taxation-Right2Water Should Change the Formulation to Avoid Confusion and Misrepresentation

The statement “Water Services should be funded by progressive general taxation” is technically correct. But it is open to be misrepresented as an attempt to place the burden on “the middle class”. This is being done currently by Leo Veradkar. It will be trumpeted in every constituency in the general election. In Ireland all those living in private rather than local authority estates and/or have white-collar occupations are regarded (wrongly) as middle class. They are a very numerous cohort and the fight for their political support is very important to the left. Already many people from this background support left-wing TDs and councillors. (As a lifelong trade union rep of teachers and public servants, I am particularly conscious of this)

The problem with “Water Services should be funded by progressive general taxation” is that it does not express the gross inequity in the distribution of wealth and in the incidence of taxation in Ireland. I try to deal with this in my blog,

Irish Super-Rich Awash With Money   http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4

Instead I think the formulation in documents and speeches should be “Water Services Should be Funded by taxing the incomes and assets of the super-rich”

The formulation “Water Services should be funded by progressive general taxation” should be dropped.

When canvassing doors, I often ask “ What do you think is the annual income of each of the top 10,000 Irish people”

I commonly get the reply: “About 200,000 euro like all the ministers”

The reality is 595,000 Euro (over half a million and there are almost no public servants or Ministers in it-all private sector). Public perception is distorted by biased media coverage.

I recommend the following reply to Presenter’s Question: “So you intend to load the cost of upgrading Irish water on the middle classes”

Answer: “No, we wish to prevent extra taxation being imposed on those on low and middle incomes. No Water charges, no Home Tax

We will directly tax the super rich. The top 10,000 Iris People have incomes of 595,00 per year each, a total of 5.95 billion. Net Financial assets-investments and bank deposits of the very rich Irish have gone up by 90 billion since the crash. There is plenty surplus money there to fund investment in water services”—–Paddy

UPDATE:SUPER-RICH IRISH AWASH WITH MONEY!-UPDATE Aug 19,2015       Read Full Blog          http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4

 

Brian Gould(Cork) Arrested Yet Again For Resisting Water-Metering. Good on you Brian!

“We’ve told residents that if they want help, we’re more than willing to give it to them. We won’t do it for them though.

“We’re willing to stand with them, not stand for them. They themselves have to be willing to take a stand.”-Brian Gould

Water charges protester defiant at third arrest

A water charges protester arrested three times since last Friday has vowed to continue his resistance to the installation of water meters.

Brian Gould, aged 64, was yesterday arrested at a protest at the Ard Cashel estate in Watergrasshill, Co Cork having been detained on Monday at a demonstration in the same residential area.

Mr Gould was also arrested at a protest in Brooklodge in nearby Glanmire last Friday.

Mr Gould appeared in Mallow District Court yesterday and was released on bail.

He said afterwards that, as part of his bail conditions, he had been ordered not to attend any further water meter installations in Watergrasshill.

Mr Gould said that he was yesterday arrested for grabbing equipment from an Irish Water worker, but said that it was an instinctive reaction after the material was passed over his head from behind.

His arrest on Monday, Mr Gould said, came after he stepped on a stopcock.

He also confirmed that he is not a resident of either the Ard Cashel or Brooklodge estates.

“Over the last six or seven months we’ve been going to various estates in Cork City and county to park meetings,” said Mr Gould. “We’ve been giving information and leaflets to residents on the water charges, meters and smart meters.

“We’ve told residents that if they want help, we’re more than willing to give it to them. We won’t do it for them though.

“We’re willing to stand with them, not stand for them. They themselves have to be willing to take a stand.”

Mr Gould said that, as a result of his involvement, he gets calls from residents who are seeking help in speaking with gardaí and Irish Water workers.

“I have gained experience in dealing with the gardaí and Irish Water that people don’t have,” he said.

Last week, a spokesperson said Irish Water would resume works in estates where workers had been refused access by residents.

“This work will be rescheduled in due course to enable works to be carried out in a safe manner,” the spokesperson said. “Meter installations are continuing in the south-west region. To date in excess of 735,000 meters have been installed nationwide and over 90,000 in the south-west region.”

Coleman Sheehy, brother of FG donor, was appointed to the Irish Water Board in November 2013.The part-time position carries an annual salary of 15,000 Euro. Mr. Sheehy is involved in property investment and development and commenced employment with Sherry Fitzgerald Estate Agents. What qualifications has he to run a water company. How was he selected?

Water bills could rise by 50pc and €100 grant facing axe as EU report hits home-Irish Independent

Irish independent     Paul Melia

PUBLISHED01/08/2015 | 02:30

Water bills could rise by as much as 50pc if the Coalition insists on keeping Irish Water’s loans off the national balance sheet.

The €100 water conservation grant and the pricing cap are also in the firing line, if the Coalition wants the company to pass Eurostat’s market corporation test.

This would result in 70pc of customers, or almost 950,000 households, being hit with a higher charge as they would have been expected to pay no more than the maximum bill of €260 per year.

Scrapping the €100 grant to every householder who registers with Irish Water will also result in higher charges.

European agency Eurostat earlier this week ruled Irish Water did not pass a crucial test because more than 50pc of revenues came from Government.

It also found the so-called ‘water conservation grant’ should be treated as a payment to Irish Water, as it was “clearly” designed to offset bills.

Failure to pass the market corporation test means that Irish Water’s borrowings will be added to the national debt.

The Government has committed to not changing the charging structure, including the cap, until at least 2019.

Subsidies

It has also said the €100 grant will be paid annually, but the Eurostat decision means that some subsidies will have to be withdrawn for Irish Water to qualify as a standalone entity.

ESRI economist Dr Edgar Morgenroth said that the “minimum” the Government needed to do was scrap the €100 grant.

“It’s hard to argue the €100 water conservation grant is anything other than a rebate to Irish Water. To meet the Eurostat criteria I expect that at the minimum the government would have to get rid of the untargeted €100 subsidy.

“The true cost of providing water and wastewater is probably €500 to €600. We now have (a charge of) €260, less the €100, and we’re not even close to 50pc.”

New data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also shows how the Government is heavily subsidising the cost of treating water.

It says that households are currently being charged €3.70 per 1,000 litres of drinking water and wastewater, but that the “real” cost is €5.42.

The prices are being kept low because the Government not only subsidises household bills, but also pays another €1.72 per 1,000 litres to cover the cost of child allowances and the cap.

Removing these subsidies would add around 46pc to bills.

The CSO, Irish Water, Eurostat and the Government have all refused to release redacted figures in the Eurostat ruling, arguing they are commercially sensitive.

But data released by the CSO shows the extent Irish Water relies on the State.

The Government will this year provide Irish Water with €400m to offset treatment costs and keep charges low. This will increase to €479m next year.

Some €60m is being provided from taxation to pay for the ‘free’ allowance of 21,000 litres per child. Another €129m is being paid to keep the maximum charge at €260 per two-adult household and €160 for a one-adult home.

A “product subsidy” of €211m is paid to offset treatment costs. These subsidies exclude the water grant, which costs €130m.

Dr Morgenroth said if 51pc of total funding had to come from direct charges to customers, it gave the Government “very little room for manoeuvre”.

“Prices are not set in relation to costs at all, they’re set politically. It can’t be like that if you want a market operation firm,” he said, adding that payment rates would have to improve.

Irish Independent

Seamus Healy TD

TRIP TO TIPP PT 2    NATIONAL PROTEST AGAINST WATER CHARGES

Nenagh, Saturday  August 8

Step up the Campaign Against Water Charges By Protesting in Nenagh on August 8

Nenagh is the home town of Minister Alan Kelly

Assembling at Nenagh Railway Station@2pm
Free parking on  Saturdays in Nenagh
Coaches can park at the railway station

Government and Minister Kelly Must Withdraw the Charges NOW!

57% Refuse to Pay Water Charges!

Statement By Seamus Healy TD  087-4183732

Well over half of those billed have not paid the water charge. This shows that the majority of the Irish people are opposed to these charges and the Government and Minister Kelly should now withdraw the charges. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the biggest civil society organisation in Ireland, has voted overwhelmingly against the imposition of these charges.

Irish people already pay for water through general taxation including VAT. The majority are refusing to pay a second time.

The Fine Gael/Labour Government gave 80 million Euro in tax relief in the last budget to over 100,000 people who earn 180,000Euro per year each. But it is persisting with a charge that amounts to double taxation of households including very poor households.

The widespread refusal to pay the first water bill should encourage many more to refuse to pay the second bill.

As no penalties take effect before the next general election, people can continue to refuse to pay and can vote out the present government and elect candidates committed to abolishing the charges in the election.

I will continue to refuse to pay

The mass refusal to pay is a huge boost to the Anti-Water Charges Campaign which will be holding a mass march in Dublin on August 29.

Let us keep up the pressure!

Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199
IMPACT/SIPTU Austerity Collaborators Fail To UNDERMINE ANTI-WATER CHARGES MOTION AT ICTU  BDC

A motion to oppose water charges unconditionally was passed at the ICTU Biennial Delegate Congress after an amendment from IMPACT And SIPTU which agreed the principle of charging domestic households for water was defeated by 9 votes.

Well done to outgoing President of ICTU and Mandate General Secretary, John Douglas

Well done to Waterford Trades Council who proposed the motion

Well Done to the 5 Right to Water Unions-MANDATE,UNITE, CPSU, CWU, OPATSI

Well done to Northern Unions who were aware.

SIPTU and IMPACT are well aware that once water becomes a saleable commodity inder EU law, it is only a matter of time until the charges increase and the service is privatised.

This is what happened with the bin service.

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Abolition of Water Charges Must be a Red Line Issue for Participation in Government!

Submission to Right 2 Water Unions  by Workers and Unemployed Action Including Pledge to Be Signed by General Election Candidates to be Endorsed by Right2Water Unions

 WUA Submission 

Workers and Unemployed Action is a nationally registered political party.  Seamus Healy TD will be contesting the next General Election on behalf of WUA.

A small extract from our constitution and rules encapsulates the political position of the party:

“1. With James Connolly, Workers and Unemployed Action is committed to achieving Irish Unity, Independence and Socialism. It is opposed to any intrusion on the sovereignty of the Irish people.

  1. WUA supports and defends Irish military neutrality
  2. WUA supports the struggles of workers, unemployed and oppressed people all over the world.
  3. It is dedicated to advancing the political reorganisation of the working class on an All-Ireland basis in a united all-Ireland party of workers.
  4. It is opposed to coalition or collaboration with conservative parties in Government or other public authorities as a matter of principle.” (This means that WUA will not be participating in a coalition government with FF, FG, Renua)

Full constitution and rules can be viewed on our website and by clicking here

https://wuag.wordpress.com/about/constitution-and-rules/

WATER CHARGES

WUA is strongly in favour of the abolition of domestic charges and the recognition of access to free domestic water as a human right. We participated in the previous campaign which succeeded in abolishing water charges and also in campaigns against bin taxes and local property tax.

We therefore welcome the initiative of the Right2Water unions in attempting to use the next election as one means of bringing about abolition of the charges.

Campaigns for  non-payment by those in a position not to pay and  mass protests against government policy and the installation of water meters in residential areas must continue in parallel with this electoral initiative.

We have no difficulty endorsing the content of the 5-union policy document though WUA has strongly held additional political positions and principles.

In addition to WUA, there will be several political parties and individuals including individual Dail deputies and senators, committing themselves to abolition of domestic water charges in the general election.

Inevitably these will have differences on fundamental issues including participation or non-participation in government with other parties.

But we think it important that all candidates endorsed by Right2Water regard abolition of domestic water charges as a red line issue for participation in government or remaining in government. Otherwise, should candidates endorsed by Right2Water fail to win an overall majority in the General Election, the elected deputies would have no further obligation to campaigners against the charges. They could participate in or support a government which continued the charges WITHOUT BREAKING THE PLEDGE if there are not additions to the current 5-union document ON WATER CHARGES. This would be grossly unfair to activists who campaigned for such candidates or who recommended votes for them.

‘Irish Water PLC’ and domestic water charges will be

abolished within the first 100 days of a Government

endorsing this policy.”—-Right2Water Unions Document

WUA endorses this pledge.

However, since the fundamental duty of a Right2Water campaign is to ensure, as far as possible, the abolition of the charges we think that the following should be added to the above:

Suggested Water Charges Pledge to Be Presented for Signature to Candidates in the coming General Election who seek endorsement by Right2Water Campaign

I am unconditionally in favour of the abolition of domestic Water Charges and I will vote for such abolition in Dáil Eireann at the first opportunity.

I shall not participate in or support the formation of any government which is not formally committed in its programme for government to the abolition of domestic water charges within 100 days of taking office.

I shall not remain in or continue to support any government which fails to fully abolish domestic water charges within 100 days of taking office.

In signing this pledge I am fully aware that the current FG-Lab government has surrendered the Irish Exemption from The EU Water Framework Directive (article 9.4)  which legally absolved Ireland and Ireland alone from the requirement to charge for domestic water.

Conclusion

UNITY TO REMOVE WATER CHARGES!

It is important that opportunist candidates be prevented from climbing on an anti-water charges band wagon in order to gain election only to betray later. The enhanced pledge above minimises the chances of this occurrence and maximises the chances that water charges will be abolished. WUA strongly recommends the enhanced pledge above.

Mass Peaceful Street protest during Labour Party Conference

Support Killarney Right2Water Feb 28!!!!

KillarneyToday.com Exclusive

A MAJOR national protest is being planned for the streets of Killarney to coincide with the staging of the annual conference of the Labour Party in the town later this month, KillarneyToday.com can reveal.

The protest rally, to voice opposition to water charges and the austerity regime, is being organised for Saturday, February 28 by Killarney Right2Water campaigners and it is likely to attract at least several hundred people from all parts of the country.

The Labour conference, which will be attended by several cabinet ministers and party leader Joan Burton, will be held in the INEC from February 27 to March 1.

Dec 1

IMPACT TRADE UNION FORBIDS BRANCHES FROM CAMPAIGNING AGAINST WATER CHARGES

Letter From Shay Coady, General Secretary

You will be aware that this matter was debated at the IMPACT Conference in May. Motions calling for the abolition of water charges or supporting a campaign of opposition to water charges were not endorsed by Conference. The policy position adopted at Conference is the following motion;

‘This Conference calls on IMPACT to support a Trade Union national campaign of opposition to the introduction of water charges for households unless the Government commits to retaining the service in public ownership’.

The Action on Motions adopted by the CEC and circulated to all branches noted that the Water Services No. 2 Act 2013 provides that Irish Water and its assets will remain in State ownership. The Act prohibits Irish Water’s board, the Minister for the Environment or the Minister for Finance from selling their company shares. You will be are that the Minister recently announced further protections relating to the requirement for  a plebiscite if this were to change. This will require legislation.

In these circumstances IMPACT is not participating in or supporting the December demonstration and it would be contrary to policy as determined by Conference for any IMPACT Branch to ‘sign up’ to this campaign. You are aware that, under rule, the conference is the governing body of the union. Furthermore, under rule, branches are subject to the overriding authority of the CEC.

IMPACT was involved in the negotiation of the service level agreements between Irish Water and local authorities. We represent the local authority staff who now deliver that service to Irish Water. Thes e workers continue to be employed under the same local authority terms and conditions. We are also organising members in Irish Water and we have secured a recognition agreement for IMPACT from the company. I am copying this correspondence to the IMPACT Officials involved in the water sector as well as the President.

Shay

Nov 30

Clonmel March bigger than ever to-day

Over 2000  marched

Two Clonmel Busses now filled for Dec 10 to Dublin

See Photo

Nov 24

Technical Engineering and Electrical Union representing 40,000 Irish craft workers have called for the abolition of Water Charges at their national Conference

TEEU now joins MANDATE, UNITE, CWU, CPSU, OPATSI in campaigning for abolition.

But SIPTU still supports the principal of charging households for water. This makes water a tradeable commodity rather than a public service. Refundable tax credits do not change this.

David Begg, General secretary of ICTU said on Saturday that the government package was acceptable

ICTU had supported water charges in its pre-budget submission.

We must assume that UNIONS we have not heard from support the ICTU position. These include TUI, IMPACT, INTO, ASTI, PSEU, AHCS, IFUT, etc

Activist must step up the pessure in these unions for the abolition of water charges

“Meanwhile, members of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) have called on the Government to abolish planned water charges “with immediate effect’’. Delegates at the union’s biennial conference in Kilkenny backed calls for it to campaign in support of the abolition of the plan”.-(Irish Times)

Nov 20

Households May Pay More-Labour Minister

Labour Party Minister White Admits Households May have to pay more for water even before the General Election

“There is a risk”, he said on RTE, that the EU may find that the arrangements may not meet the EU requirements to allow Irish Water to borrow “off balance sheet” (50% of funding of the company coming from charges to households and businesses)

The reason for this is that the  100 Euro allowance may be regarded as illegal state aid to Irish Water.

The reason the 100 Euro is being paid to all households including those with private pumps who are not “customers” of Irish Water is in order to pretend that the 100 Euro it is not a form of state aid to the Company, Irish Water!

Mr White said the Government has no plan B.

The government is committed to retaining Irish Water as a company trading in water. Minister Kelly says that it was not a mistake to set up Irish Water.

THE ONLY SOLUTIONS OPEN TO GOVERNMENT IN THAT CONTEXT ARE:

1 Abolish or seriously reduce the 100 Euro allowance

2  Increase the charges

3 A bit of both

In either case, this means that people will pay more!

THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR HOUSEHOLDS IS THE ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES

Update   Nov    17

Government to introduce “loss leader” to lure people into paying. After the general election the charges will rise. A “cap” on charges can be removed by next government by a simple majority. Allowances can be frozen or reduced.

Once water becomes a commodity through charging households its treatment under EU law changes fundamentally. Movement to full cost recovery is inevitable over time.

Joan Burton took 1008 Euro per year in child benefit from a household with 4 children including households of the unemployed. She cut rent allowances and fuel allowances. Now she is about to impose a water charge which will inevitably rise.

Update Nov 14

Will SIPTU Jack O’Connor Allow Government  Take Water Charges From Workers’ Pay?

The government may now move to have water charges deducted from pay,pensions and social welfare.

SIPTU could stop this as the Labour Party is now almost completely dependent on SIPTU for it’s very survival.

UNITE THE UNION has already dissafiliated from the Labour Party but SIPTU remains part of the Labour Party.

SIPTU members should call on Jack O’Connor to issue a statement saying that such a move will not be tolerated.

DISCUSSION

ICTU Accepted The Principle of Charging for Water in Budget Submission

http://www.ictu.ie/press/2014/07/17/congress-pre-budget-submission/

Congress’s  proposals on water charges represent  a compromise position between the need to raise additional government revenue and the need to protect low and middle income households——————-

If water charges are to be introduced, the already announced free allowance will have to be supplemented  by a system of water credits or cash transfers for lower and middle income earners—————————–If Congress’s proposals come into conflict with EU state aid rules , then it is Congress’s position that Irish Water should exist as a public authority

John Douglas(Mandate), Current President of ICTU and Jimmy Kelly(UNITE) are leaders of the campaign to abolish water charges and CWU, OPATSI, CPSU are supporting the demonstrations. Other members of the General Purposes Committee of ICTU are  Shay Cody (IMPACT ), Sheila Nunan (INTO), Patricia King (SIPTU), Joe O’Flynn (SIPTU), Jack O Connor (SIPTU)

Almost all general secretaries of trade unions are on the Executive Council of ICTU

The statement: -“If Congress’s proposals come into conflict with EU state aid rules , then it is Congress’s position that Irish Water should exist as a public authority”   is merely a washing of hands or tail covering exercise. ICTU and SIPTU have substantial research departments.

WATER MUST BE RESTORED AS A PUBLIC GOOD NOT A COMMODITY! REPEAL THE WATER SERVICES ACT

EU   Illegal State aid rules Will  Ensure that Water Charges Will  rise once introduced

Full Rebate to all households to pay for all necessary water in the Form of a Refundable tax credit

will be excluded- SIPTU Jack O’Connor knows this.

ONLY SOLUTION IS TO REPEAL The Water Services ACT and restore water as a public good not a commodity

Tax the Super-Rich for Extra Investment-  See Super-Rich Awash With Money on paddyhealywordpress.com

Technically the money paid by households and businesses must be more than 50% of supply and production costs in order for Irish Water to be allowed by the EU to borrow off balance sheet. Borrowing off balance sheet simply means that households and businesses  will pay the interest on borrowings and repay the capital in water charges over time.

Dr Tom McDonnell (NERI) has said: “At the moment it appears that the funding model for 2015 is €533 million from the Local Government Fund, €305 million from domestic water charges and €230 million from non-domestic (mainly commercial) water charges”  This means that technically the government must collect 305 million Euro from households next year.

Following the huge countrywide protests and the political damage to FG and Lab, government is now now asking the EU to allow them to charge less than the 305 million until after the General Election. On behalf of the state they will make committments which bind the next government to allow charges to rise until the 50% figure is exceeded . Ultimately, the intention is to recover all costs from households and businesses.

The key step required to make water a commodity rather than a public good under EU law is to begin charging households for it even if the initial cost is low for a temporary period and there are significant allowances and tax credits.

Unless the attempt to introduce charges on households is defeated now, the charges will rise over time to a level comparable with electricity bills.

The charges will, of course, be in addition to the money we are already paying in direct and indirect taxes for water as the government subvention to Irish water will be either frozen or reduced over time as the charges rise.

The net effect of the entire operation is to switch taxation from the super-rich to those on low and middle incomes. Already the poorest 10% pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than the richest 10% when both direct and indirect taxes(VAT etc) are taken into account. (See my post on this blog: Poorest Pay Most Tax)

Government’s wiggle-room on water charges limited

ANALYSIS

Cliff Taylor     Irish TIMES    OCT 31

The Government has limited room for manoeuvre in cutting water charges to consumers, if it wants to keep the costs of Irish Water off the State balance sheet. This is the crux of the problem it faces as it aims to defuse public anger at the charges.

Giving money back to consumers via tax relief and household benefits packages may, however, be the way to lower the costs while staying within the rules.

An analysis of the published information on what Irish Water will spend and where it will raise its money shows it needs to raise significant revenue from the public to stay within the rules. If it does not do so, officials have calculated that more than €800 million will be added to borrowing next year, cutting Ireland’s ability to meet EU deficit targets.

Juggling the deficit

The whole structure of Irish Water was established so the bulk of State funding would not be counted in the annual exchequer deficit, as measured for EU purposes.

Thus, Irish Water has to be seen to raise a significant part of its funding from sources other than the Government.

The rules for this are set down by the EU statistics agency Eurostat, in what is called a “market corporation test” – in other words, a test of what Irish Water’s finances need to look like to justify its existence as an independent entity.

Three tests need to be met, relating to the amounts that Irish Water raises in revenues from households, businesses and the Government and the relationship between these numbers.

Two of these restrict the Government’s wiggle room.

First, the amount of money raised from the public must “clearly exceed” payments from Government coffers. Previous figures show that revenue from households (just over €300 million in 2015) and businesses (€230 million) at €530 million exceeded total Government support by about €100 million.

Doesn’t add up

The second test is even tighter. It requires that the amount collected from households and businesses must be equal to 50 per cent of Irish Water’s production costs, and should “clearly exceed” this figure “as soon as possible”.

With production costs of just over €1 billion, this leaves very little room to play with. Even if there was some adjustment to Irish Water’s costs, it is hard to see the figures adding up if less than €250 million is collected from households, and more in future years.

Giving money back via tax relief and household benefit packages will help stay within the rules, while cutting the net costs to households.

The cash will still come in to Irish Water from the public and can thus be counted in its finances.

Widening the promised tax relief to households – so that all households benefit from €100 in tax relief, no matter what their bill comes to – together with a credit for those on welfare support is one key step in the Government’s plan to try to assuage public anger.

Further moves to cap charges are also being considered, but these will have to ensure that Irish Water still gets enough revenue.

Will It Cost The Government 930 Million Euro per year to Abolish Water Charge as it Claims?

Read ML Taft Economist at UNITE THE UNION      http://notesonthefront.typepad.com/

The Government Should now Come Clean on Water Charges

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 30, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Does the EU not realise we already pay for water , do they not realise we are so heavily taxed we don’t have any more money left to pay . No Way Won’t Pay ,

  1. November 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm
  2. November 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm
  3. November 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

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