Irish Republic referendum on water supply ownership likely next year

October 13, 2019

A referendum in the Irish republic on keeping public water supply in public ownership is likely to be held in the first half of next year, a minister has revealed.


John Phelan, a junior minister in the department responsible for water policy, told a water sector conference that his superior, minister Eoghan Murphy, was working on the phrasing  of  the issue to ensure it would have broad, cross-party support.


“He is confident that work on a revised wording can be concluded which would facilitate the holding of a referendum in the first half of 2020, subject to the approval of government and the adoption of the relevant bill by the Oireachtas {parliament], which ultimately determines the holding of a referendum,” insisted Phelan.


This long-awaited and much-anticipated move is not the only politically contentious issue facing the government.

Also, under discussion is the highly-charged matter of the transfer of staff currently employed by local authorities on water issues to the stare-owned company, Irish Water. There is considerable union unease over this which is due to  come to a head shortly.


Meanwhile, in a related but separate development, the Budget for 2020, just announced, will allocate nearly €1.2 billion from public funds to Irish Water.

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