Sinn Féin - On Your Side

SDLP should stop telling lies about water

5 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MP and Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has said that no-one should be fooled by the lies being peddled by various SDLP spokespersons in recent press statements.

Mr Murphy said:

"In recent SDLP press statements various spokesperson have taken to distorting the truth - both about what is being proposed and about their own role.

"The reality is that we will not be paying twice for water, water will not be privatised and there will be significant safeguards for people on benefits, on low incomes and pensioners.

"So when the SDLP try and claim that there will be privatisation they are wrong. When they claim there people are getting what was proposed by British direct rule ministers they are also wrong. The SDLP should stop trying to mislead people.

"These proposals are based on the two reports produced by the Paddy Hillyard Water Reform Review. These recommended changes in how water and sewerage is paid for and how it is managed. They also accepted that people should make some contribution towards their water and sewerage.

"These are the same reports that were supported by the SDLP in October 2007 when John Dallat said that the 'review backs the central plank of SDLP water policy'. Yet now in recent statements the SDLP claim that they now cannot support these proposals.

"The Hillyard recommendation on a household contribution was unanimously agreed by the Executive and the Executive sub-committee, that included SDLP Minster Margaret Ritchie, has since then been working on how to achieve this..

"We now have a way forward that is light years away from the situation under direct rule. The British Treasury is not going to pay for our crumbling water and sewerage infrastructure. But there won't be any double taxation and there will be strong protections.

"Within a limited budget I believe that what is now on the table is fair. Of course if the Executive could find another £150 million a year from the housing budget or from health or education to fund the investment needed I am sure the SDLP would attack Sinn Fein for that too." ENDS

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