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Rural Ireland forced to pick up the tab for government incompetence – Stanley

26 January, 2012 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD has said that the government has forced rural householders to foot the bill for their incompetence.

Deputy Stanley was speaking this afternoon after the Water Services Bill was passed by the Dáil.

Deputy Stanley said:

“This government is refusing to take any responsibility for failing to comply with an EU directive that is over 35 years old. Instead they have rushed through a piece of legislation that will force householders to foot the bill for upgrading their septic tanks to standards which have yet to be published.

“In an Orwellian twist, Minister Hogan will send an army of inspectors out into the homes of rural Ireland to inspect septic tanks. These inspectors will then assess the septic tanks against standards that as yet only exist in the minster’s imagination.

“Sinn Féin has repeatedly demanded that Minister Hogan publish the standards so we know exactly how this legislation will impact on rural households. We have also called on the minister to give us details on how he expects householders to upgrade septic tanks when families simply cannot afford to do so. Upgrading may cost anything up to €17,000. But again the minister has at best been vague and at worst dismissive of people’s financial concerns. In fact the bill contains threats of fines up to €5,000 for those who cannot comply with the upgrades.

“The passing of the Water Services Bill represents a bad day for rural Ireland. Unfortunately, in a desperate measure to avoid real debate the government guillotined the debate at every opportunity. We were forced to vote today having only been given time to debate 8 out of a total of 56 amendments. This is not democracy.

“Sinn Féin will continue to actively campaign to make sure septic tank standards are just and fair and that financial assistance will be provided to those who need it.”

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