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Cullinane slams “government-by-press-release”

7 February, 2012

The government needs to drop the registration charge for septic tanks entirely and to fund the remediation of water tanks according to Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane, speaking on the order of business in the Seanad today.
The government has reduced the registration charge from €50 to €5 for a defined period. While we welcome any reduction, the minister has missed the point. The registration charge is not the root of people's concern. People are concerned because they have no idea what standards will be imposed and by the possibility that they will have to pay thousands of euros to replace their tanks.
The minister has failed to provide the standards to the public. They do not know what will be expected nor whether they will get any support from the state for remediation of tanks.
People living in cities and towns do not have to pay for remediation of water mains other than through their taxes. Why should people in rural areas pay for the remediation of their septic tanks when they pay the same taxes? Sinn Féin fully supports protecting our water supply and the wider environment, but clearly the government must come out with a clear indication that any upgrading of household septic tanks will be fully funded by the Department of Environment.
Senator Cullinane also noted that the government has been inconsistent on this issue, and called on the public to continue to oppose the charge
"The government is panicking and now seems to be embarking on a course of government-by-press-release. The Water Services Amendment Bill was debated for countless hours but the government refused to accept opposition amendments on the quantum of the registration charge and on grant aid. However due to opposition pressure, and crucially pressure from the public, the government has backed down, although the substantive issues remain unresolved. I call on the public to maintain pressure on their public representatives to ensure that the government puts an end to this charge and pays for remediation work.”

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