Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said proposed Water Charges are another tax on struggling families, are unfair and unjust, and make no economic sense, adding that Water Charges would be increased over time.
Mr Adams also accused the Taoiseach of bypassing the Dáil and spinning details of Government decisions to the media.
Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders Questions the Sinn Féin Leader said:
“Taoiseach, yesterday I raised with you the issue of Water Charges, which is causing deep concern to householders across the state.
“In your reply to me you said the Government had not taken a decision; that various matters had to be taken into consideration; and that there was a need to assess a whole range of issues before any decisions could be made.
“You then pulled together an unscheduled Cabinet meeting and sent your spin doctors off to the media to give details of the decision that you told the Dáil you had not taken.
“Taoiseach, this is but the latest in a whole series of major decisions in which your Government has bypassed this Dáil in favour of governing by press release and media spin.
“On each occasion the Government has shown contempt for the Oireachtas, for the Opposition and for the citizens who your decisions will affect.
“The fact that you called a special cabinet meeting to deal with this issues is down to the manner in which the Opposition here has pursued you.
“It is clear that your desire was to kick to touch on this issue. You govern by making it up as you go along.
“What is very clear now is that there will indeed be a standing charge as part of the Water Charge.”
Mr Adams said Water Charges would result in a flat tax, that it is a regressive tax and that will impact most negatively on ordinary working families.
TheGovernment’s Water Charge, borrowed from Fianna Fáil and opposed at that time by the Labour Party, he said, is another tax on top of all the other taxes and charges faced by struggling families, who have already been hit with an unprecedented list of taxes and stealth charges.
Mr Adams said:
“The reality with other charges that have been introduced is that they do not go down. They go up. So, this charge is merely the first step of an escalating Water Charge.
“As I pointed out yesterday, your policy on water provision also makes no sense in terms of water conservation and its real intent clearly is the eventual privatisation of water services in this state.
“Taoiseach, there are no domestic Water charges in the North. You know this because the Department of Regional Development there had meetings as far back as January 2012 with the Department of the Environment in Dublin. DRD officials appraised the Minister Hogan’s Department of the system in the North.
“Taoiseach, Sinn Fein in the North blocked Water Charges and the privatisation of water services there. You could do the same in this state. Why don’t you?”