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Barlow addresses Right2Change conference in Dublin

Mansion Hall in Dublin where the Right2Change conference took place.

Mansion Hall in Dublin where the Right2Change conference took place.

Just two weeks before the Feb. 26 Irish election, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow addressed the Right2Change ‘alternatives to austerity’ conference in Dublin yesterday.

During Barlow’s speech, John Barry, a Green Party councillor on North Down Borough Council, tweeted the key points of her speech:

  • hoping Dublin becomes a blue community – keeping water in public, against bottled water

  • CETA more dangerous than TTIP

  • water metering is preclude to water privatisation and puts onus on families not corporations

  • UN now recognizes human right to water but Ireland and UK lobbied against

  • ‘never retreat, never apologize, get it done and let them howl’…

  • Irish Water imposing a reform usually imposed by World Bank on developing world countries

  • global water crisis – from Canada to countries in the global south people around the world are fighting back against privatisation of water

  • over 20 countries have now amended their constitutions to recognise the right to water

  • dangers of water trading and water pollution trading which have happened in US & Australia

  • not just about getting right government but also undoing and repairing 3 decades of damage

  • it’s now about winning each fight, but a movement, long hours, sharing food, trust and friendship & commitment to a dream

  • it’s always to soon to go home and give up, social justice is like a bath, you do it everyday or you stink

  • we need to see progress and celebrate the small victories – hope not fear

  • citing Gandalf, we need to protect and take care of all that grows bears fruit and is good in the world.

Barlow was also asked to write an article for a newspaper that Right2Change is distributing to 100,000 voters.

ArticleIn that article, Barlow explains, “Irish Water was set up to act as if it were a commercial business, not a public service. The bailout agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund required that the public provision of water services had to end and committed Ireland to a full-cost recovery system through water metering. This model of water delivery is really about shifting the burden of paying for water from commercial enterprise to households and gives breaks to the wealthy while imposing water charges on everyone else. It also parallels a private system and can easily be converted to a public private-partnership over time.”

And Dublin-based NewsTalk.com has reported, “The Right2Change campaign says it has 96 candidates running in the general election who support their set of principles.”

Those principles – listed here – include: “Water is a human right, essential for life and for all our human needs. As such, water provision and sanitation should not be subject to the profit motive or the free market and should be made available to all, free at the point of use, and on the basis of need, not means. ‘Irish Water PLC’ and domestic water charges will be abolished within the first 100 days of a progressive Government. ‘Irish Water PLC’ will be replaced with a single national water and sanitation board which will be solely responsible for the provision, transmission, sanitation, management and operation of the public water and sanitation supply in the public interest.”

The most recent news poll reports that Sinn Féin’s support has risen by three points to 20 per cent, while the governing Fine Gael party is down two points to 28 per cent. As noted by NewsTalk.com, “Sinn Féin makes up just over half of the candidates pledging to support the Rigth2Change principles.”

Video from conference:

Further reading
Barlow to speak in Dublin this weekend ahead of Irish election (Feb. 10, 2016)