UN World Water Day – IMPACT and European Anti Poverty Network call for support to future-proof water against privatisation

IMPACT trade union and the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland, have called on all Irish citizens to support the EU initiative, Right2Water, to recognise water and sanitation as a human right.
The initiative was launched in 2012 and demands that water and sanitation are declared a human right in the EU. The campaign to date has collected almost 1.3m signatures from across the EU, and is looking for wider support across the European Union, including Ireland.

Robin Hanan, Director of EAPN Ireland explained, “UN World Water Day is held annually on March 22nd as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. We wanted to take this opportunity today to ask Irish citizens to support the Right2Water initiative, which will help to future-proof all EU water services, and ensure that access to water and sanitation is recognised and protected as a basic human right. Access to water and sanitation must be protected as a public good and not confined to those who can afford to pay.”

Kevin Callinan, deputy general secretary of IMPACT added “In Ireland we are seeing a major overhaul of our water infrastructure beginning to take place, as Irish Water has been formed as a subsidiary of Bord Gáis, and that process is ongoing. Our long term concern is that at some point in the future this could prove an attractive option for privatisation. The current government has assured us that this won’t happen, but we need to future-proof against any possibility of this happening in the longer term. This EU citizens’ initiative gives us all a unique opportunity to do that” he said.

The EU campaign demands that:

  • EU institutions and Member States be obliged to ensure that all inhabitants enjoy the right to water and sanitation.
  • Water supply and management of water resources not be subject to ‘internal market rules’ and that water services are excluded from liberalisation.
  • The EU increases its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.

The European citizens’ initiative allows EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies, by calling on the European Commission to make specific legislative proposals. The Right2Water initiative has passed the 1m signature target, but needs support from a wider range of EU countries. Over a thousand Irish citizens have signed so far.
You can sign the petition to support the initiative HERE.