SIPTU representatives have called on the Government to set a date for a referendum on the public ownership of water services to ensure against any future privatisation of the national utility. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “It is the long established position of SIPTU that a referendum must be held in order to provide a constitutional guarantee that water services will remain in public ownership into the future.  “SIPTU along with the other unions that organise public water services workers have held lengthy negotiations with officials from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, on this issue. This resulted in the Department publishing a document entitled ‘Irish Water Transformation Wider Policy’ in July.  “In this document, the Government has given a commitment that it will bring forward the proposed wording of a referendum on the public ownership of water services later this year or in early 2023. It is also stated in this document that the Government will run a referendum on the public ownership of water services in tandem with a referendum on the right to housing.” He added: “SIPTU is now calling on the Government and all political parties to deliver on the commitments that are set out in this document.” SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “At a meeting of SIPTU Water Services members in Waterford last night (Wednesday, 31st August), there was a clear demand that  the Government deliver the date for the proposed referendum on the public ownership of water services.”  He added: “At the meeting, SIPTU representatives announced the launch of a nationwide campaign which will call on all political parties and elected representatives  to provide unequivocal commitments concerning the holding of a referendum to ensure the public ownership of water services.”