Water charges motion fails to get hearing at council meeting

A motion demanding the Galway City Council call for the abolition of water charges and not comply with demands from Irish Water to hand over tenants' information failed to even get a hearing at last night’s city council meeting.

The motion, proposed by Sinn Féin councillor Máiréad Farrell on behalf of the Right 2 Water Galway group stated: “This council recognises that water is a human right and as such calls for the abolition of water charges and the dismantling of Irish Water. This council reaffirms its commitment to remain an independent authority and as such declares itself unwilling to supply details of council tenants to Irish Water.”

Irish Water recently requested City Hall to provide it with all council tenants’ details, following reform of water charges legislation which potentially allows local authorities to act as a debt collecting service for the controversial quango.

This prompted Independent city councillor Mike Cubbard to write to the city council’s chief executive Brendan McGrath, calling on him to “seek legal advice before complying” with the request.

However Cllr Farrell’s motion, which called for no information to be given to Irish Water, failed to gain the support of enough elected members for it to be heard at Monday’s meeting.

The motion was supported by the three Sinn Féin councillors, the three Fianna Fáil councillors, and Independents Catherine Connolly and Mike Cubbard. However opposition from Fine Gael, Labour Party, the ex-PD Independents, and Cllr Noel Larkin meant the motion could not be taken for discussion.

Speaking afterwards Right2Water Galway said it was “disappointed but unsurprised” by the outcome. “There has been a deafening silence from some quarters of our city council on this issue,” said R2W’s Dette McLoughlin. “Now we know who does and does not take the concerns of their constituents into account.”


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