Response from European Commission to a question asked by Marian Harkin

Right to water


Last night I published an opinion article by Luke Ming Flanagan on the Irish Water Exemption LUKE MING FLANAGAN ON THE IRISH EXEMPTION

MEP Marian Harkin took part in the conversation and told me she had documents relating to this discussion and was kind enough to mail them to me on this subject. I am going to copy and paste everything as I got it so there is no doubt it may have been interfered with.

Dear Ray,

Marian Harkin asked me to send over these attachments. They include:

  1. The response from the European Commission from a question asked by Marian
  2. The Commission’s report to the Council and Parliament on Ireland’s implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) – River Basin Management Plans –  which the European Commission referred to in their answer. Specifically section 12.6 – Cost recovery (p42) and
  3. Article 9 of the Water Framework Directive

In addition, Marian has written to Minister Kelly, as she has some concerns that the full cost will be levelled on the shoulders of households (see section 12.6 – cost recovery) and the guarantee that keeping the price low for a number of years  could be invalid.

Also, this gives Irish Water a strong hand when it comes to pricing water, unless we activate Article 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive.

Kind regards,

Peter McGuigan

Office of Marian Harkin MEP

European Parliament

60, Rue Wiertz

B-1047 Brussels


Tel: +32.2.2838797

Fax: +32.2.2849797




“MEP of the Year ” Award Winner 2011 & 2012

From: GURN Niamh []
Sent: 09 December 2014 12:20
To: VALLERA Giovanni (ENV)
Subject: Water Framework Directive

Dear Giovanni,

I would be most obliged if you could help me with some clarification in relation to the Water Framework Directive. Article 9.4 of this Directive is often referred to as the “Irish Exemption”. Under what circumstances, if any could this article be removed or amended.

Warm Regards

Niamh Gurn

Parliamentary Assistant to Marian Harkin MEP

European Parliament

Tel: +32.2.2837797

Fax: +32.2.2849797





RE: Water Framework Directive


“VALLERA Giovanni (EC)” <>


12/12/2014 18:44


GURN Niamh <>

Dear Niamh,

Article 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) contains an exemption from the general rule of water pricing and cost recovery. This is not specific to Ireland, irrespective of who asked for the clause during the legislative process. In practice it allows a Member State to exclude a specific activity from pricing and recovery on the basis of an existing practice, if it can demonstrate that WFD objectives will be achieved in spite of the exclusions. As with all exemptions, this clause must be narrowly interpreted and a justification needs to be included in the River Basin Management Plans.
On the basis of the information reported to the Commission, Ireland has not made use of Article 9(4) in its first RBMPs. This is evidenced in the Member State assessment on Ireland (see section 12.6, page 43):
As with all Member States, if Ireland invokes Article 9(4), we shall carefully consider whether the conditions for this flexibility provision are met.
A consolidated version of the WFD can be found at the following link:
Kind regards,
The above links may not work so I have embedded them just below this
I hope those interested can take from this what they need, once again many thanks to Mep Marian Harkin and Mep Luke Flanagan.