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Government plans to pickpocket people to pay Water Charges – Adams

6 May, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has slammed draconian new powers to deduct Water Charges from people’s wages, pensions and social welfare payments.

He said the latest Government moves would penalise ordinary, hardworking families and vulnerable citizens and set a dangerous precedent because it raised the question as to whether utility and other bills would directly deducted from people’s earnings.

Teachta Adams raised the issue directly with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil today, saying:

“The sorry saga of your efforts to impose an additional Water Tax on households and your establishment of the totally discredited Irish Water is a metaphor for how this Government functions.

“There was no need to impose an additional Water Charge in the first instance but you did so. There was no need to pay €85 million euro of taxpayers’ money to consultants, but you did that as well.

“You could have listened to the suggestions from Opposition parties here but you didn’t. Instead, you forced through the Water Services Bill. Back then, you threatened to cut off water or to reduce household supplies to a trickle. Popular anger grew and the protests got bigger; then you did a partial U-turn. You failed in that also.

“Meanwhile in the background, the Siteserv scandal was being covered up by your Government. A subsidiary of Siteserv, you will recall, was given the lucrative contract for installing water meters across the State; all under your watch.

“And now we learn from the media that the Government is discussing draconian new powers to deduct Water Charges from citizens’ wages, pensions and social welfare payments. It is time to go back to the drawing board. Will you scrap your Water Tax?”

Teachta Adams said the Government plans would penalise ordinary, hardworking families and vulnerable citizens, who have already borne the brunt of your Government’s austerity policies:

“The Government’s latest plan, concocted by a Labour Minister who is greatly concerned about his own legacy, also sets a very dangerous precedent.

“If a company such as Irish Water can take money from people’s private bank accounts, where will this end? Will this legislation apply to Bord Gáis, to ESB, to Eircom? What’s to stop private companies, for example a car dealership, looking for an Attachment Order?

“Your latest contortion in the long running efforts to impose Water Charges stands in stark contrast to your compliant and subservient attitude to the Banks who refuse point blank to deal fairly with families in mortgage distress.

“Yet you refuse to introduce legislation to oblige them to do so. In fact, you blocked Sinn Fein legislation which would have done this.

“Is it ‘Fine Gael - the Bankers’ Party’?

“You are prepared to bring in this unprecedented pocket-picking legislation against citizens, workers, pensioners and welfare recipients but you refuse to legislate to protect citizens against the banks or to safeguard taxpayers’ money.” 

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