A rally is planned for 1pm today on the Grand Parade, to highlight water services workers’ concerns with Irish Water.
Under the Government’s Framework for the future of water services, Irish Water is to assume responsibility for all water services.
Between now and 2026, some 3,200 local authority water services staff will be asked to voluntarily transfer to Irish Water as permanent employees.
Those who do not wish to transfer to Irish Water may work in water services until the end of 2026, when they will be redeployed “to other areas within local authorities”.
John Mullins, who is one of the organisers of Cork City and County Water Services Workers Against Privatisation, said he and his colleagues felt they had to take to the streets to bring their concerns to public attention.
“Since 2013, successive governments have promised a referendum on the ownership of Irish Water, and if this goes ahead, the Government will have no reason to have a referendum, and, we feel, Irish Water will then be open to privatisation,” Mr Mullins claimed.
Socialist Party TD Mick Barry called on the Cork public to support the demonstration and Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould agreed, saying that a referendum on public ownership of water is needed to protect against any future threat of privatisation.
A spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said: “Public ownership remains central to the Government’s vision for water services, as is clear from the policy paper and the framework document. The matter of a referendum on water ownership continues to be under active consideration. ”