EU/US trade agreement could lead to privatisation of Irish water supply

Public meeting on potential impact of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on Ireland

Fears that Irish Water and the water supply network could eventually be privatised are increasing in the wake of major international trade agreements the EU is conducting with the USA and Canada.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is being negotiated between the EU and US, while the EU has just concluded the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. There are some small references to these agreements in the national media, but for the most part they have been largely ignored. However, such agreements between massive economic entities as the EU, the USA, and Canada are unlikely to have little impact or be of little importance.

A public meeting, organised by Right2Water Galway, on these trade agreements, entitled Another threat to our WATER: CETA & TTIP, takes place tomorrow at 8pm in Richardson’s, Eyre Square.

Frank Keoghan of the People’s Movement will outline how CETA and TTIP could impact on public services, including the Irish water supply, and turn them into profit making commodities for private companies. Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Keoghan said, “the US government has made clear its intention to use TTIP to get access to ‘public monopolies’ in the areas of public utilities and such services as health, education and water.”

It is understood that the aim of TTIP and CETA is not to stimulate trade through removing tariffs between the EU and USA/Canada, but to remove regulatory ‘barriers’, which could potentially include social standards, environmental regulations, labour rights, food safety rules, regulations on usage of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws, and new banking safeguards to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.

It is also understood that the deals seek to grant foreign investors a right to sue governments in front of ad-hoc arbitration tribunals for loss of profits/anticipated profits arising from public policy decisions.

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