19th April 2021 | Press Releases, Water

Green Party motion calls for recognition of access to clean water as a human right

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Senator Róisín Garvey today (Monday 19th April) brings a motion to Seanad Éireann calling for recognition of access to clean water as a basic human right of every inhabitant of Ireland.

Green Party Spokesperson for Rural Development, Senator Róisín Garvey said:

“Water is a basic human right but we still have so much to do to ensure everyone has access to clean and safe water. It’s time we valued our water and gave it the respect and investment it needs so people can feel safe drinking and using it again.”

“An ambitious plan was recently launched to redevelop and revitalise Ireland’s rural communities, but no rural development is possible without decent investment in water infrastructure. We as a Government party have made commitments in the Programme for Government and now, we have to turn those into action.”

The motion calls for the State to provide for the management, treatment, and distribution of safe water through systems in public or community ownership, ensuring the protection and restoration of the ecological status of water bodies. It also calls for recognition that clean water is a basic human right of every inhabitant of this country and that Access to Clean Water and Sanitation is also a United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal that we have signed up to. We must protect it from source to sea and everything along the way, rivers, lakes, and groundwater.

Speaking on the importance of wastewater infrastructure, Senator Pauline O’Reilly said:

“Ireland is facing a water crisis. An EPA report last year found that 19 large urban areas failed to meet mandatory standards, meaning half our waste is not being treated correctly. We need to invest in the infrastructure needed to protect our water for the future. This is essential not just for the environment, but for the growth of our communities. To build more homes, start new businesses and boost tourism, particularly in rural Ireland, we need to ensure we can meet the needs of our growing population and economy.”

Senator Vincent P Martin added:

“We must address and tackle so many infrastructural defects to make sure we’ve provision of safe and clean water. This is not just a problem for coastal communities, but an inland issue as well. We need to get serious about this. It requires investment and prioritisation, and this motion in the Senate is a first step.”