Stanley calls on Government to abolish Irish Water
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has called on the Government to follow the logic of its climb down on water charges, and to abolish the charges in their entirety. Deputy Stanley was speaking during a debate on the Government’s Water Services Bill which sets the new rates for domestic water charges between now and 2018.
Deputy Stanley said:
“It is clear that the Government has come under massive public pressure on water charges. That has forced them to introduce the proposed lower rates. However, I would urge them not to wait until faced with even larger protests, beginning with the one planned for next Wednesday, but to use this opportunity before the Bill is passed to abolish the charges altogether.
“The spend on fixing leaks and replacing old pipes was measly compared to the amount wasted on Irish Water call centre, consultants and other costs, plus the €539 million wasted on meters that are now redundant. The total amount wasted to date is heading for €800 million. Compare that to the €40 million spent in each of the past four years on leaks and replacing pipes.
“If the €800 million was used properly they could double the mains replacement programme for 16 years. Imagine the difference that would make to water conservation.
“I will be introducing an amendment to replace the proposed plebiscite on privatisation, which is meaningless, with a referendum to enshrine public ownership of water into the constitution.
“Sinn Féin will be opposing the Government's Bill as it stands as the only acceptable solution is to abolish water charges, and to dismantle Irish Water.”