Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council, has promised a campaign of steadfast opposition to proposals in Budget 2010 to introduce domestic water charges.
The 27-year old Tallaght-based Councillor recently proposed a motion at the Council, which would be responsible for the local implementation of such charges, to oppose any attempts to introduce a water tax. The motion succeeded on a vote of 21-2, winning support from members of all parties with the exception of Fianna Fáil.
Looney’s motion proposed that the “Council opposes the introduction of domestic water charges and favours, instead, a combination of water conservation and education measures and a genuinely progressive taxation regime which adequately resources local government.”
“We all agree with the need to conserve water and ensure its careful use,” noted Cllr Looney. “But doing so through the tax system, as proposed, highlights the difference between Labour, who view water as a basic human right, and those like the Greens, who see water as a scarce commodity that should be rationed regardless of the social cost.”
“Water charges will hit working people and those at the fringes of society hardest. The utterly regressive way in which the government have proposed their introduction – in which each household will have a flat allowance and will be forced to pay for all water use above that allowance – does not take into account the diversity of water requirements for types of households, or the different water use regimes for larger families, families with young children, those who may be incontinent or require other water use due to illness, disability or other needs.”
“Such a departure will be viewed as a tasty opportunity for profit by large multinationals who will lick their lips at the drip-drip to water privatisation. The experience both in Ireland, in terms of waste charges, and abroad in general, is of taxes first, followed by privatisation, followed by worsening services and asset-stripping.”
“Our Council, representing more than a quarter of a million people in South Dublin, has taken a stand in support of water as a human right, and not a commodity to be played with. Fianna Fáil and the Greens will face a sustained campaign of opposition from working people if they intend to go down this road.”“Unfortunately, due to the lack of power afforded to local Councils, we in South Dublin don’t have the power to stop water charges being introduced unilaterally by the Government – but they won’t come here if we have anything to say about it,” finished Looney.