Tuesday 19 September 2017

Blow for Government as Fianna Fail agrees to back water referendum bill

Joan Collins
Joan Collins
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FIANNA Fáil has agreed to support a bill that proposes a referendum to place Irish Water under public ownership in a move that will come as a blow for the Government.

The bill, tabled by left wing TD Joan Collins, is due to come before the Dáil for a vote on Thursday.

The decision by Fianna Fáil to back the bill means it looks set to be passed.

Fianna Fáil sources said on Tuesday that while the party has concerns about elements of the bill, it recognises the “good will behind it”.

But Fine Gael is likely to be furious over the decision, given that the issue of water is being examined by the Water Commission.

The bill itself has the support of 39 other TDs beyond Fianna Fáil, including Sinn Féin.

"The Government shall be collectively responsible for the protection, management and maintenance of the public water system,” the bill states.

“The Government shall ensure in the public interest that this resource remains in public ownership and management,” it adds.

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