Privatised water services result in higher costs and poorer services for the public. Public ownership of water services ensures safe and sustainable access to water for everyone. A referendum would help protect Irish water services from any future attempt at privatisation, providing a constitutional guarantee of public ownership. Opinion polls show that a huge majority of the Irish public want a referendum to ensure water services can never be privatised.
There is a high-cost to privatising basic public services. Communities end up paying more while companies make big profits. In England and Wales the cost to the public of water services is estimated to have risen by 40% in real terms since privatisation.
Over £18 billion has been paid out in dividends to private shareholders between 2010 and 2021. Governments throughout Europe are waking up to the failure privatisation. Berlin, Scotland and Paris are all making moves to bring back water services into public ownership.
The best way to keep water services public is by having it guaranteed in the constitution. That is why we need a referendum.