Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that cabinet discussions about the proposed water tax have nothing to do with conservation, clean water, or saving taxpayers money but was all about cobbling together a pre-election stunt.
Speaking to the Taoiseach in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions, Gerry Adams said:
“Two weeks ago in the Dáil you said that the Water Tax would cost householders an average of €240. The Labour Party was clearly on board for this. Then, panicked by the sheer scale of public anger on this issue, the Tánaiste conducted a belated negotiation on the detail.
“During the same period, your Environment Minister Phil Hogan reassured us all, in his usual off-hand way, that this matter would be speedily resolved, only to be told by the Tánaiste that Labour will ‘not be bound by any timetable’.
“So, there you have it – the politics of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. The Water Tax is a Fianna Fáil policy, opposed by Labour at the time. It featured in their infamous Tesco Ad during the 2011 election. You know, the kind of thing you do during an election campaign!
“The shenanigans within the Cabinet are not about water conservation or clean water, or about according citizens their rights, or about saving taxpayers money. This is all about trying to cobble together yet another pre-election stunt.
“One thing is for certain. There is going to be a Water Tax because the Labour Party has not got the backbone to say no to it. So, Taoiseach in a spirit of ‘transparency, openness and accountability, will you tell citizens now how much your Water Tax is going to cost them?”
The Sinn Fein Leader said that following today’s Cabinet meeting today the Taoiseach was meant to tell the Dáil the scale of Water Tax to be paid by householders.
“You haven’t done this. Instead, the news from the cabinet, briefed to the media, is about the setting up of the long awaited Banking Inquiry, without any reference whatsoever to the Oireachtas.
“We will return to that issue and to the scandal of white collar crime again. But your news management today is a clear attempt to distract attention from the reality of a Government in Crisis.
“Government investment should be directed towards fixing leaking pipes so that councils can provide water more economically instead of spending taxpayers’ money on installing meters. Fresh, clean water is a basic human right.
“Taoiseach, you claimed that Irish Water would save money. But €86 million has been spent on consultancy services and 29 staff at the company are paid over €100,000.
“You pumped €490 million from the Local Property Tax into the establishment of Irish Water.”
Saying that citizens are understandably asking what is the point of Labour in government, Gerry Adams said all this was a very clear and gross waste of taxpayers’ money and that the Government’s policy on water services is a complete shambles.