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Government should abandon plans for Water Charges – Adams

16 June, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today criticised the government’s intention to bring in Water Charges.

Mr. Adams was speaking during a Sinn Féin Private Members Motion on this issue.

The Sinn Fein leader said:

“It is appropriate as we mark 100 days of the government in office that this chamber debate the introduction of Water Charges.

“In this time the Fianna Fáil and Labour government have u-turned on election commitments to the tune of almost one every two days.

“Water charges is another of these.

“Fine Gael pledged that it would not charge for water until a new water authority had been established and each home had been fitted with a water meter.

“This has now been set aside along with lots of others and a flat rate is to be imposed on every household irrespective of consumption.

“The Labour Party in particular argued against the introduction of water charges while in opposition.

“Both parties said that a flat rate charge would be unfair.

“And both parties are intending to introduce a flat rate charge.

“And now both parties are u-turning on that commitment.

“Ba chóir do Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre a bheith ionraic linn.

“Níl ann anseo ach cáin faoi choiom. Bealach eile é seo le cáin a bhailiú.

“Anois, ós rud é og bhfuil sib hi gcumhacht tá sib hag déanamh an rud céanna is a dhéan an rialtos romhaibh!

“Cá bhfuil an difir eadraabh!

“The reality is that yet another stealth tax is being introduced on families that will heap further pressure on already hard pressed homeowners.

“Claims by the government that water charges are about improving water conservation or improving the level of service are all nonsense.

“This is a family stealth tax pure and simple.

“The government plans to spend €500 million or more on installing meters.

“That money could be better spent on improving water distribution and cutting down the amount of water, over 40% of which is lost through leaking pipes.

“Such a substantial investment would also create and retain jobs in the local economy.

“Siad na saoránaigh arís a bhéas ag piocadh suas na píosaí nuair a thagann an taoide isteach leis na h-íocaíochtaí seo agus leis na h-íocaíochtaí sóisialta! Agus céard a thárlófas dóibh siúd nach féidir leo an t-airgead a h-íoc ?

“Seo hé an fiacha a chruthaigh an ciorcal órga, baincéirí agus polaiteoirí ina measc.

“The reality is that access to clean and safe water is a basic human right.

“Water charges are an unfair and inequitable form of double taxation.

“Sinn Féin in the north blocked the introduction of water charges.

“The government here should abandon its plans for water charges.
“Water Services must continue to be held under the operational responsibility of local authorities and in full public ownership.

“I would however like to commend the idea of the establishment of an All Ireland Water and Sewerage Authority to ensure that water quality and environmental standards are met and to facilitate co-operation across this island towards reducing costs and maximising efficiency.”

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