Lyn Boylan MEP SF
European Commission rep's 'patronising and arrogant' comments on water protesters.
A REPRESENTATIVE of the European Commission clashed with Sinn Féin's Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan on Thursday after the Policy Officer made "patronising and arrogant" comments about Irish water protesters during a conference in Brussels – apparently unaware that an Irish MEP was present.
During the Aqua Publica Europea conference, a spokesperson for a private water operator claimed that water should be treated like any other utility and should not be considered a free resource.
Responding to the comment, the European Commission Policy Officer for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, Lukasz Latala, said:
"The Irish just don't seem to understand they need to pay for water."
The comment prompted an immediate response from Irish MEP Lynn Boylan - who has been appointed author of the European Citizens' Initiative Right to Water report – and was in the audience listening.
Speaking from the floor, the Dublin MEP described the policy representative's comments as "patronising", telling him:
"The Irish people absolutely understand that water has to be paid for. But they don't understand why they are being asked to pay for it twice."
"We already pay for our water through general taxation and the wholly inept and shambolic entity that is Irish Water has also been funded by Irish taxpayers."
Speaking after the conference, Lynn Boylan said:
"The Irish Government alludes to conservation being a factor in the introduction of this tax. It is appalling that 40% of domestic water is being lost through leaking pipes.
"Instead of the Government investing in the aged and decrepit infrastructure it has spent half a billion euro of the National Pension Reserve Fund in setting up a quango that is not fit for purpose and in the installation of water meters."