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Government must be held to account for school water charges - McDonald

16 January, 2008

Following her meeting yesterday in Strasbourg with the European Environment Commissioner Dimas to discuss the Irish governments decision to charge schools for water Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has today written to Education Minister Hanafin and Environment Minister Gormley seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the matter

The Dublin MEP said, "The failure of the Irish government to make contact with the Commission since the water charges for school crisis emerged is astounding. During my meeting yesterday with Commissioner Dimas we discussed a number of options open to the government to resolve the calamity for the country's schools.

"Ireland can still pursue an exemption in respect of schools from the Water Directive. The Government can also place a moratorium on school water charges until the end of 2009. Finally in the event that government fails to obtain an exemption for schools from the Water Directive it can fully reimburse schools for the cost of the water charges as this would be a matter of internal accounting according to Commissioner Dimas.

"I will be seeking a commitment by government that it will end their current folly and put in place all of Sinn Féin's proposals as supported by the European Environment Commission." CRÍOCH

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