SIPTU calls on government to hold referendum on public water services on 8th March

SIPTU representatives have called on the Government to hold a constitutional referendum on the public ownership of water services on 8th March, 2024, the same day on which it intends to hold a referendum on the definition of the family and women in the home.

Liberty (@SIPTU)
2 min readDec 5, 2023

SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “The Government today (Tuesday, 5th December) announced that the proposed referendum to broaden the definition of the family and remove a reference to ‘the place of women in the home’ in the Constitution is to be held on International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2024. SIPTU is calling on the Government to honour its commitment to hold a referendum on the ownership of our public water services and to have it on the same day.”

She added: “The opportunity to honour its commitment made to trade unions, which represent water services workers, to hold this referendum is part of a wider policy on water services. It would also demonstrate a commitment to keeping water in public ownership ahead of United Nations World Water Day, which promotes water as a fundamental right, on 22nd March.

This has been and remains a critically important part of the approach of SIPTU members to changes in water services provision. Our members want water services to remain in public ownership and be provided for the common good, not to generate profits.”

SIPTU Local Authority Sector Organiser, Brendan O Brien, said: “Many of our members employed in local authority water services are waiting for the Government to honour its promise for a referendum prior to making a decision on whether to voluntarily transfer to Uisce Éireann, or remain with their Local Authority. Holding this referendum would assist workers in making this decision and provide the public with an opportunity to safeguard the future delivery of water services for the public good into the future.”

He added: “Both the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, have promised the people of Ireland they will hold a referendum on the ownership of public water services. It is now time for them to deliver on that promise.”