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SDLP signed up to Water Panel Report

24 June, 2008


Sinn Féin Regional Development Spokesperson Raymond McCartney has questioned why the SDLP are now raising the issue of churches paying for the water and sewerage when SDLP members of the Regional Development Committee sat through the evidence session on the Water Panel Report and even enthusiastically said that the 'review backs the central plank of SDLP water policy'.

The Paddy Hillyard Water Panel Report recommended changes in how water and sewerage is paid for and how it is managed and accepted that people should make some contribution towards their water and sewerage.

Mr McCartney said:

"The SDLP claim to be consistent yet when they enthusiastically said that the 'review backs the central plank of SDLP water policy' including that everyone should make some contribution towards their water and sewerage they did not raise any of these issues.

"At no time during any of the Executive discussions or the Executive sub-committee meetings did Margaret Ritchie raise any of these issues. And during all of the Regional Development Committee evidence sessions on the Water Panel Report not one SDLP representative raised any issue about this.

"I believe that what we have on the table now is based on the recommendations of the Water Panel Report including strong protections for those least able to pay and rules out any future privatisation. People should not be misled by SDLP scaremongering they will not be paying twice for water and they will be paying significantly less than under any previous proposals.

"Of course if the SDLP have any alternative suggestion for finding additional funding, by for example cutting money from the Health, Housing or Education Budget to finance a different solution then I am sure that we would all like to hear it." ENDS

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