The people of Wicklow have been crystal clear on what they want to happen – Full and permanent public ownership of our water system. It is essential. I tabled a Bill to that effect last year, and I welcome the support that Deputy Collins’ Bill has received in the Dail this week. The Bill was supported by Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein, AAA/PBP, the Labour Party, the Green Party, and not opposed by Fine Gael, and so a version of this amendment may very well progress onto the legislative agenda.

I accept that the constitution is not normally used to address specific issues such as this. For example, the ESB is not protected in the constitution. However, given the public opposition to the charges, the genuine public fear of privatisation and the level of foreign influence, it’s the right thing to do. I tabled a similar Bill last year and look forward to supporting it’s passage through the House.

This is a victory for everyone in Wicklow who has advocated for permanent public ownership of Ireland’s water supply.