Updated: 12/11/16 : 06:31:24
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Water network must be kept in public ownership – Mac Sharry

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry says new legislation being supported by his party will alleviate the distrust felt by many people about the ownership of our water network.  The Water in Public Ownership Bill 2016 will legislate to keep our water infrastructure in state ownership.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented, “Notwithstanding the Water Services Acts in place and the safeguards they provide, there is distrust among the public about issues such as the ownership of Irish Water and other aspects of public property.  This Bill will copper fasten Fianna Fáil’s previous commitment to ensure that our water infrastructure remains solely in public ownership by enshrining it in the fundamental law of the land.  This will ensure that the possibility of privatisation is put off the agenda and only be considered if a referendum on the issue is held.

“We must not repeat the mistakes of the past when it comes to valuable state assets.  The sale of Telecom Éireann, as well as the sell-off of stakes in the ESB and Bord Gáis, were expensive mistakes.  We lost control of valuable infrastructure without reaping any significant benefits – this cannot be allowed to happen again. Key utilities and important natural resources should be protected and kept in State ownership and this Bill will enshrine that principle in our constitution.

“We need to realise the value of our natural resources and infrastructure.  I would like to see the issue of ownership of our forestry and certain utilities discussed at a later date to protect them from unwise commercial risks,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.