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Right2Water campaigners urging high turnout for protest

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ORGANISERS of Saturday’s anti-water charge protest in Letterkenny are urging a high turnout.

In advance of the Right2Water protests, campaigners have said that water charges are being used to give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest in our society.

Pointing out that households only use 10 percent of water but are now expected to pay up to 78 percent of all costs while corporations and agriculture use 90 percent of all water but will only pay 22 percent of the costs, Right2Water said that water charges amount to a ‘transfer of wealth’.

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The six Right2Water Trade Unions – including the CPSU, CWU, Mandate, OPATSI, TEEU and Unite – released new information about water charges ahead of a series of demonstrations taking place across the country this Saturday, 23rd January 2016. The campaign is urging anyone opposed to water charges or Irish Water to attend any of the 27 demonstrations taking place across the country.  Details are available on www.right2water.ie.

The Unions said that our water services have been underfunded for years in anticipation of water charges.

Right2Water Coordinator Brendan Ogle gave a presentation during which he said: “The last two Irish governments cut funding for our water and sewage services from €839m in 2008 to €289m in 2013 – a cut of 65 percent in five short years. Is it any wonder we had boil water notices in places like Roscommon and Galway. But they now have the cheek to come to us and say the system is underinvested and we need water charges.”

Mr Ogle said the real reason behind water charges had less to do with upgrading infrastructure or conservation than with what he termed a “transfer of wealth on a massive scale”.

He added, “All of the expensive consultants and a massive advertising campaign from Irish Water cannot hide the real agenda behind these unfair charges which is to shift the burden of paying for water from commercial enterprises to households; give tax breaks to the wealthy while imposing water charges on everyone else; and line our water industry up for future presentation”.

Pointing out that corporations and agriculture use 90% of all water but are expected to pay only 22% of the costs. Mr Ogle also noted that despite the fact that water metering does not aid conservation – when all of the costs of metering are taken into account involving installation, maintenance, administration and replacement – the cost for water provision more than doubles.

“Water charges are an economically inefficient imposition on the public, which will do nothing to promote conservation but will facilitate a transfer of wealth on a massive scale.  Right2Water is calling on all members of the public to come out to support their local Right2Water event this Saturday”, Mr Ogle concluded.

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