The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment has welcomed the decision to extend the Freedom of Information Act to Irish Water. However, he also stressed that questions ought to be answered by the Minister responsible for water services rather than TDs and members of the public having to resort to FOI requests.
Deputy Stanley said:
“I welcome the extension of the Freedom of Information provisions to Irish Water. I had placed amendments to the water legislation calling for this but it was voted against by the Government.
“There were no valid reasons why it should have been excluded on commercial reasons. Nor are there valid reasons for excluding other public bodies such as Coillte which also should be made subject to the legislation.
“The reason all of this came about of course is that the Minister has consistently refused to answer Dáil questions on Irish water. I had a PQ in July regarding the costs of establishing Irish Water which they refused to answer. We only received that information in the past few weeks through the media. That question should have been answered by the Minister.
“I would hope therefore that future questions will be answered by way of Parliamentary Questions rather than TDs and members of the public having to resort to FOI requests.”