04 Oct 2022

Morris backs unions in four demands for water services workers in Tipp

Update: Cllr Seamus Morris resignation comes after a bitter nine-month dispute

Independent Tipperary Cllr Seamus Morris

A straw poll amongst the council water staff would find it hard to find one person who wants to leave the County Council.

Independent Tipperary County Councillor, Seamus Morris has let rip at the County and City Manager Association saying that they have sold out local authority water services workers who now work for Irish Water.

In a hard hitting statement issued this week, Cllr Morris backs a four pronged demand from unions and says that it is high time that the elected representatives stopped allowing Irish Water and the CCMA to control the narrative.

“ On December 20, 2013, I led a walkout of five councillors at our North Tipperary budget meeting because we were being asked to take a leap of faith by the County Manager by handing over all our water and wastewater assets to a newly formed quango called Irish Water. I asked if we could delay the decision until the councillors saw the 12 year service level agreement (SLA) that had been drawn up by the Department of Local Government. Sixteen of the councillors led by the then chairman, felt it was ok to hand over all our resources to Irish Water on the “blind” Oh how they should be ashamed of themselves. It took me a further 6 months to get a copy of the SLA.

“Bórd Gais in their submission to the Joint Oireachtas committee stated that they would set up a “utility that would deliver a world-class water system with the best possible value for the customer. I remember we were told the same when we were asked to trust the government with reconfiguring our health services in the Mid West . Oh how they have failed miserably and it is now time to stop the madness before we have another revenue eating machine like the H S E on our hands sucking taxpayers money with very little for it. With the national debt at €260 billion and rising at €1.3 billion a month, can Ireland afford another HSE?

“Tipperary County Council in their submissions to the Draft Water Resources plan and in the Review of the National Development plan, has voiced concerns about Irish Water holding back the county in terms of attracting Foreign Direct Investment due to a complete lack of water and wastewater infrastructure. In fact, you would go a long way in council meetings from rural councils to see anyoneheaping praise on Irish Water. How is that for a world-class water system?

“Incredibly the City and County Managers Association (CCMA) has been advocating the “seamless transfer of all existing local authority staff to Irish water.” Now either the CCMA have developed “stockholm syndrome” or they are trying to sell their own staff down the Suwannee. A straw poll amongst the council water staff would find it hard to find one person who wants to leave the County Council.

“For the CCMA to be debating this now seven years into a twelve year Service Level Agreement is astounding in its treatment of its own staff. I am calling on all of our councillors to support the unions utter dismay at such treatment and to support their four demands before any negotiation should even start.

The Four demands are:
1) The future sustainability and revitalisation of local authority services
2) a constitutional referendum on public ownership of water services
3) the structure and governance of the proposed water utility
4) Employment and industrial relations issues that arise from the proposal

“It is high time that the elected representatives stopped allowing Irish Water and the City and County Managers Association to control the narrative,” Cllr Morris said.

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