Stanley questions cost of Irish Water
Sinn Féin spokesperson on environment, community and local government, Brian Stanley TD, today challenged environment minister, Phil Hogan TD, to reveal how much the establishment and running of Irish Water will cost the exchequer.
Stanley said: “The government is committed to taking control of the water sector away from the 34 local authorities and handing it over to the newly established Irish Water.
“The cost of establishing and running this new company has never been made public because the government simply does not know how much it will cost.
“The minster has avoided answering this question.
When I asked the minister, in the Dáil for details of the cost of establishing Irish Water he had to admit that the cost is not known.
“It is unacceptable that a government championing the establishment of a new company is unable to provide the public with this essential information.
“The minister indicated that this is the biggest project since the establishment of the ESB and he wants to proceed without even knowing how much it will cost.
“At a time when people are faced with extra charges, extra taxes and cuts to public services it is reckless in the extreme to give Minister Hogan a blank cheque to establish and run Irish Water.
“The minister must explain under what rainbow he hopes to find this funding. Is it to come from further cuts in public spending or increases in taxation?
“Sinn Féin opposes the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water metering and to outline our alternative to water meters and water charges. “The government's arguments in favour of water rates simply do not stand up. The evidence indicates that the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water rates is more about privatisation than about conservation. Water meters and water charges does not encourage conservation.
“What guarantees conservation is investing in the water sector, reducing the unacceptably high percentage of leaks and introducing water harvesting and dual flush systems as part of building regulations.”
In conclusion, Deputy Stanley demanded that Minister Hogan “addresses the issue immediately, inform the public how much it will cost to establish and run Irish Water and where he will get the funding”