Government threat to impose original water charges represents an outrageous attack on democratic process - Senator David Cullinane
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has said that the government threatening to impose the original water charges on people, should the Seanad vote against the Water Services Bill, represents an outrageous attack on the democratic process.
Senator Cullinane was responding to comments made earlier by Health Minister Leo Varadkar in which he indicated that the government would push ahead with the original charging plan if the Seanad happens to block the Bill when it comes before the upper house this week.
Senator Cullinane said;
“These threats represent an outrageous attack on the democratic process within the Oireachtas.
“The government is clearly worried that this bill, which imposes water charges and does nothing to guard against the future privitisation of our water services, does not command the support of the majority of Senators.
“This is attempt at scare-mongering in order to put pressure on Senators who may be undecided on how to vote at present.
“The government should introduce emergency legislation to abolish water charges altogether if they are genuinely concerned about the original charges standing.
“Instead the government are trying to create a climate of fear but forcing elected representatives to choose between the carrot of the revised package and the stick of the original charges.
“They still don’t seem capable of absorbing the message that the people are opposed water charges in any form. Divide and conquer will not work on this issue.
“Representatives of the government should not be trying to interfere in the right of the Seanad to vote down a Bill if the majority of Senators believe that it is in the best interests of citizens to do.
“Fine Gael and the Labour Party have wedded themselves to the imposition of water charges.
“They will even set about undermining democratic procedure in order to achieve that aim.
“I am urging all my fellow Senators not to be frightened off opposing this Bill.”