The SIPTU Water Committee, composed of local authority workers involved in the provision of water services, has called on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to clarify his position on holding a vote on maintaining the public ownership of water services alongside other referenda later this year. SIPTU Water Committee Chair, Stephen Kelly, said: “In recent remarks on the forthcoming gender equality referendum, the Taoiseach also referenced the possibility of holding referenda on a number of different issues on the same day in November 2023. One of the outstanding referendum issues, which this Government has previously committed to resolving, concerns providing constitutional protection for the public ownership of water services. “Our members who provide this vital public service are now calling for some clarity from the Government on the holding of a referendum on the public ownership of water services. We believe such a referendum is essential in order to ensure that the interests of workers, the general public and the wider common good is protected into the future."  He added: “While safeguarding water in public ownership has long been an objective of SIPTU members, a formal campaign to ‘Name the Date’ for this referendum was launched along with several other unions in October 2022. The Taoiseach now needs to commit to what is clearly a very strong public demand, a date on which the referendum on this issue will be held.”  SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “Retaining water services in public ownership clearly has overwhelming support from trade union members and the general public. The Taoiseach cannot continue to prevaricate on this issue and there is no reason that this vote cannot take place on the same day as the gender equality referendum.”  She added: “We are therefore calling on the Taoiseach to confirm that the date for the equality referendum will also be the date for a referendum to keep water services in public ownership.”