Speaking in the Seanad this morning Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane said it was unacceptable that Fergus O’Dowd is refusing to answer important questions regarding the transfer of water services from local authorities to Irish Water.
Senator Cullinane said:
“The Minister is like Manuel from Faulty Towers. It doesn’t matter what question he is asked his response is always the same – I don’t know.
“Well the ‘I know nothing’ defence just doesn’t wash. The Minister has a responsibility to the House and the people of Ireland and he should stop being so evasive and answer legitimate questions that are put to him from the floor of the Seanad.
“The haste with which the Water Services Bill has been rushed through the Seanad is a cause for concern. This Bill will establish Irish Water and transfer assets from Local Authorities to them.
“Sinn Féin has grave concerns are opposed to the introduction of water charges for already hard pressed households.
“How can Enda Kenny say in his state of the nation speech that he plans to reduce taxes now that the Troika have left, while on the other hand his government is ready to introduce water metering which is yet another tax on households?
“In light of such hypocrisy, one has to view the establishment of the Commission for Energy Regulation as a convenient smoke screen behind which the Government will hide when challenged about charges and rates.
“The lack of an ability to pay clause or poverty proofing in the legislation is yet another example of this Government’s lack of concern for ordinary families who are struggling to get by.
“This tax will result in a substantial yearly bill for households and transfer public assets from Local Authorities to a semi-state company that will eventually be privatized.
“The Minister and Enda Kenny should deal with the many concerns that have been raised by Sinn Féin and by others including Owen Keegan, Dublin City Manager.”