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SDLP 'Ducking and Diving' on Water Reform

28 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Regional Development Spokesperson Raymond McCartney MLA has accused the SDLP of 'Ducking and Diving' following its latest comments on the issue of Water reform.

Raymond McCartney said,

"It is a matter of public record that the entire Executive unanimously agreed to the introduction of household payments towards the financing of our water and sewerage services.

"Payments were deferred once the local institutions were restored to provide an open and transparent process to begin which would regain public trust and confidence which was evidently lost under direct rule.

"An Independent panel undertook to explore the best way forward making recommendations in two reports to the Executive. Any proposals which evolve are the outworking of the decision by the entire Executive to endorse household payments last October.

"It is ludicrous for individual political representatives - the latest being John Dallat of the SDLP - to now publicly oppose what their Ministers in the Executive signed up to in October of last year - the SDLP as usual appears to be speaking from both sides of the mouth on this issue. It begs the question - is the SDLP fit for government. There is no purpose in ducking and diving around the issue, it is either part of the collective decision making of the Executive or it is in opposition - it can't have it both ways"

Mr McCartney concluded;

"From our own Party's perspective, any proposal which would rule out double charging, universal metering, privatisation and reduces household bills to a level lower than what would have been the case under direct rule and also provides protections for those who can least afford to pay would be welcomed. Do the SDLP have any alternative costed proposals or are they just headline grabbing.

"Sinn Féin are actively working with all of the other parties to get the best deal for people here and I await the outcome of these ongoing Inter-Party political discussions at Executive level which are due to conclude shortly before a full public consultation then commences. Parties doing solo runs for purely publicity purposes are doing a disservice to the public that they claim to represent." ENDS

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