Donegal TD, Thomas Pringle (IND), has introduced legislation to keep water in public ownership.

“Keeping water in public ownership and enshrining the right to water in our Constitution will protect it against further privatisation," he said.

On the first formal Dáil sitting day since the new minority Government was formed, Deputy Pringle introduced legislation which, if accepted, would bring about a referendum on the public ownership of water in Ireland.

He continued: "Our water resource has so far been mishandled and exploited by our own Government whose main motive was to prepare the resource for future privatisation. The future of water is uncertain and it could be years before we get a verdict on Irish Water charges by the Commission. I believe it’s the perfect time the question was put to the people so that they can determine for themselves what the future should look like for our most precious natural resource.

"My Bill would facilitate this via a referendum process putting the question to the people whether they want the right to water enshrined in the Constitution including keeping its ownership, management and distribution in public ownership to prevent any further privatisation of the resource.

“Furthermore, the public want a proper debate on water issues and this has been needed for a very long time. Protest was the only way the public could voice their opposition to the Government’s unpopular moves towards privatisation of water, but now as Legislators of a new Dáil with a minority Government in place, we can facilitate a fair debate inclusive of people and reflective of their wishes for public ownership of the utility.

"I believe support of this Bill would be reflective of the promise by the new minority Government arrangement for a more inclusive Parliament, one which the public were active participants in decision-making and one that protects the fundamental rights of all people in Ireland," he concluded.

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