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Kenny supports taking Water charges from wages and social welfare

24 March, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny has backed up threats by Environment Minister Alan Kelly to take unpaid Water Charge bills from people’s wages and social welfare payments. Kenny was responding in the Dáil to Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams who challenged the Taoiseach about Minister Kelly’s remarks.

Speaking today Gerry Adams said:

“The Government has, for months now, claimed that the anti-water charges campaign is on its last legs. But the huge turnout of citizens at the Right2Water rally in this city last Saturday gives the lie to that claim.

“Contrary to the Government’s assertions, citizens are more determined than ever on this issue. They have said that they cannot and will not pay the Government’s Water Charge and that Irish Water is a toxic quango which should be abolished.

“But instead of listening to all the warnings; instead of listening to the hundreds of thousands who have demonstrated; instead of scrapping Water Charges; how has your Government responded?

“By jailing anti-Water Charge protestors. By forcing Local Authorities to hand over details of tenants.  By forcing landlords to do the same. By wasting €650,000 on a new advertising campaign. By giving away €85 million of public money to private consultants. By wasting €539 million on water meters. And now, Minister Kelly is threatening to take Water Charges from people’s wages or social welfare payments.

“It was also revealed at the weekend that there are no records and no minutes available of important meetings that were held in 2012 between former Minister Phil Hogan and key players in Irish Water. In light of the scandal around the huge sums of public money spent on consultants this is extraordinary revelation.

“During Irish Water’s first six months, April to September 2012, twenty-three meetings took place between Bord Gáis and the department, but only 10 were minuted. There were four meetings between Mr Hogan and Bord Gáis officials, two of them with the Bord Gáis Chairwoman.

“It is simply not believable that meetings took place, involving the Minister and the Chairwoman of Bord Gais, about the establishment of a major new public utility but that no notes were taken at of any of these meetings.

“Considering the issues at stake, I believe there needs to an Oireachtas inquiry into this issue.”

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