May 2013        

Water and woods to be flogged off

As the unpaid and low-paid have borne the brunt of the Troika’s measures so far, the future promises more of the same, with attacks on water and woodlands and other areas of public ownership.
     Though it has been announced that the introduction of water charges is being pushed back from 1 January 2014, according to Éamon Gilmore, there is little doubt that it will go ahead when metering is complete. This will be in October next year, say Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan.
     The water services will be provided by Irish Water, an independent state-owned company within the Bord Gáis Group.
     In part of the Americas, and even in some European countries, the privatisation of water has meant vast profits. People cannot live without water. Its extraction in India (by Coca-Cola) and in the Middle East has created great hardship. Once the tap of privatisation and exploitation is turned on, it is almost impossible to bring an end to it.
     Meanwhile the plan to sell off the harvesting rights to Ireland’s publicly owned forests under the EU-IMF “Troika” programme will go ahead. This will mean the selling off of tens of millions of trees to financial speculators. These speculators and others, such as bankers, would most probably end up owning this invaluable economic and cultural asset. This move by the Government is yet another disgraceful betrayal of pre-election promises by the coalition.

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