I had meant to post this some days back.  If you missed this letter it is well worth reading…not to mention startling in its implications.  A big ‘thank you’ to Kathy Sinnott.


“The Irish Exemption”

Update on Current Situation

by Kathy Sinnott

I recently tried to alert people to the existence of the “Irish Exemption”, Ireland’s unique exemption from domestic water charging based on Article 9.4 of the EU Water Framework Directive. The exemption is based on the Irish Department of the Environment’s commitment, strategy and budget to rectify the inadequacies in our water management without metering. This commitment is recorded in the 2008 Irish River Basin Management Plan. Former Minister for Environment John Gormley was able to confirm in 2008 that Ireland had obtained and was availing of the exemption from household water charges.I was assured at the time by the European Commission that the EU couldn’t not take the exemption from us but Ireland could cancel it.

This week Minister for Environment Alan Kelly publicly denied we currently had an exemption from domestic water charging. He stated “We not have a derogation because we now have committed to the model that we have.” Fortunately he is wrong.
In trying to confirm the current situation, I contact Brussels.

The good news is that the Water Framework Directive Article 9.4 exemption is still in place. The challenging news is that it is under imminent threat of cancellation by the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly himself!

In accordance with Article 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive our exemption is embedded in the 2008 River Basin Management Plan. Any renewal or cancellation of the exemption is done in the next 7 year RBMP. And it is the Minister for the Environment who assembles and submits this plan

This 2015 River Basin Management Plan is due on be handed into Brussels by New Years Day. Both the Irish government and the European Commission are expecting that Minister Kelly will not renew the exemption and will instead include domestic water charging as part of Ireland’s strategy……..

…….Alan Kelly can save the Irish Exemption by making the commitment in the River Basin Management Plan that actual water polluters will pay, that funds collected for water infrastructure in existing taxes will be used to upgrade our systems and by creating incentives for improvements to domestic water use like rain water collection system.
There is still time to save the Irish Exemption…and the Irish people are in the mood to defend it because once the exemption is gone it is gone for good. We have one month to save it.

God bless

Kathy Sinnott
Former Member of the European Parliament
Former Member of the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety