Setting the record straight on Water Charges, misconstruing and embellishing what the commission has put on the record
Direct Democracy Ireland has welcomed the recent move by MEP’s Lynn Boylan, Martina Anderson, Matt Carthy, Liadh Ni Riada, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Nessa Childers and Marian Harkin who have come out to clarify that recent media reports on the European Commission’s “opinion” on Ireland’s water charges or the abolishment thereof.
They stated “Let’s be clear: The European Commission have NEVER! Made any statements asserting Ireland abolishing direct water charges would be in breach of the water Framework Directive”.
The water Framework directive which was adopted in 2000, states in article 9 that all member states may derogate from the water pricing obligations contained in the directive.
In a recent response to a written question submitted by Lynn Boylan the commission confirmed that this derogation still exists, the response also stated that if “established practise” was a direct water charge then the flexibility to use the derogation would not apply. The key words here are “established practise”.
The European Commission is already on record as stating that it considers “established practise” to be those practices which were “an established practices at the time of the adoption of the water directive. The Directive was adopted in Oct 23rd 2000 and transposed into Irish Law in 2003, it is clearly beyond doubt that Ireland used general taxation its “established practise”.
Let us be VERY clear on this point, since Direct Water charges were forced upon the Irish People and then subsequently the rejected by mass movement that forced the Government into one U-turn after another, charging directly for water is NOT the “established practise” here in Ireland.
In January 2016, more than one year after the establishment of the quango that is Irish Water, in response to a question asked of the commission by Lynn Boylan the question been “If Ireland would be in breach of the directive if WATER CHARGES WERE DROPPED” The commission simply stated “that the second River Basin Management plan would be assessed against the requirements of the directive anything else is simple conjecture”.
The European Commission has also confirmed in emails to Lynn Boylan and Marian Harkin that if Ireland would like to avail of Article 9.4 (The Derogation) then it should submit that request in its second River Basin Management plan with justification, the second River Basin Management plan is not due to be submitted until 2017, that’s plenty of time for Ireland to establish that derogation.
It is beyond doubt, that if our Government so wishes, it can still use the derogation and justify its use in the River Basin Plan Management, as has been done by so many other European regions and countries,
In Light of all the above, it is clear that certain Journalists and politicians have distorted the debate by regarding the derogation, and we all must ask ourselves WHY?
Anthony Connor of Direct Demcoracy Ireland stated “What faith can we have in a Political sphere that has a Government in opposition and an opposition in Government” we must ask why they are ignoring the fact that Ireland’s “established practise” at the time of the adoption of the water directive, Ireland was paying for water through general taxation what are they planning whats the end game and WHY are they opposition not hammering the Government on this issue.
Pat Greene of Direct Democracy Ireland added The ability of our elected ‘ representatives’ to deflect responsibility from themselves and blame the EU knows no bounds. the EU is not holding a gun to our representatives heads regarding privatisation of Irish water….the banks are!….so who are our ‘representatives’ actually representing?….hmmmm …could it be the banks?! Where is the so called opposition in the Dáil? Why is this information not being shouted about….what is the real agenda? So many questions so few answers….why? because the people of Ireland have no say in OUR country. although you as an individual can change this by collecting 50,000 signatures to call for a vote, a referendum on this subject, but only when we have a direct democracy political system in place.
Author Anthony Connor Direct Democracy Ireland, Louth