Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD described the Irish Water controversy as “one debacle to many” and called for the resignation of Phil Hogan, the Minister for the Environment.
The Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD also called the Taoiseach’s responses to questions on the Irish Water scandal as “a joke”.
Mr Adams accused Phil Hogan of showing contempt for the Dáil, its members and citizens by concealing his knowledge of the expenditure involved in the establishment of Irish Water, including that spent on consultants.
Gerry Adams said:
“Yesterday, John Tierney told the Oireachtas Environment Committee that Minister Hogan was aware in September 2012 of the allocation of €180 million of public money to establish the company.
“Yet, despite repeated questions on this issue from Sinn Fein’s Environment Spokesperson Brian Stanley TD and others, he refused to answer questions on Irish Water. He has shown contempt for the Dáil, its members and the citizens we represent.”
The Sinn Fein Leader said that yesterday’s submission to the Environment Committee by Irish Water CEO John Tierney confirmed that from March 2013 the Minister’s Department was receiving a detailed monthly breakdown of expenditure on Irish Water, including the amount of money being paid to consultants.
Mr. Adams pointed out that Brian Stanley TD had also submitted several Parliamentary Questions, including one in June 2013 asking for a breakdown of Irish Water expenditure, including wages and service contracts. Despite the fact that he had this information, the Minister refused to divulge it.
Mr Adams said:
“Taoiseach, you promised a new way of doing politics – a ‘democratic revolution’. Instead you have compounded the worst excesses of your Fianna Fáil predecessors.
“I protested here at the Water Services Bill being rushed through the Dáil. Brian Stanley has been asking questions on this issue for one-and-a-half years.
“On the last sitting day of 2013, over 30 TDs left this chamber in protest against the ramming through of the Water Services Bill. This government has obstructed the Dáil by concealing its knowledge on the expenditure involved in the establishment of Irish Water.”
He asked the Taoiseach if he agreed that the Minister had stood over one too many debacles and whether he would now ask for his resignation.
Gerry Adams said that money being handed to consultants was being taken from vulnerable citizens:
“You are giving €86 million to consultants while slashing in the region of three million euro from the housing adaptation grant scheme for elderly and disabled citizens. That is why citizens are angry”, he said.
Saying that Sinn Féin opposed water charges and water privatization he pointed to the fact that the Local Government Audit Service report on spending by Dublin City Council for 2011, “raised serious questions about the spending of almost €100 million of public money on the Poolbeg Incinerator project under John Tierney’s watch”.