'Underhand and sneaky' – Government’s water charges move slated by Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson
The Government has been accused by Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley of being “underhand and clearly embarrassed about new punitive measures against water charges protesters because they are being sneaked through in the small print of the Environment Bill next week”.
Amendments tabled by the Government to the Environment (Miscellaneous) Provisions Bill allows landlords to evict tenants for not paying water charges and imposes restrictions on people selling their homes if they have resisted the charges.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson said:
“This is a sly move by the Government that once more makes nonsense of their talk of open government or a democratic revolution.
“This last minute attempt to introduce these measures is an abuse of the Dáil. It makes a mockery of the Government’s pledge to introduce a “democratic revolution”, and is simply an attempt to railroad through measures that have no place in this bill and which we expected to see a substantial new water services bill.
“Members of the Environment Committee were only notified of these amendments after the original deadline for amendments to the Environment Bill had closed. That bill as published makes no mention of the sort of measures now being proposed. In response, I will be opposing all the Government amendments in total and will be proposing that all of the measure proposed be deleted.
“It is clear that the Government is in something of a panic in the face of ongoing mass refusal to pay water charges. They have refused to say how many people have paid their bills, and now they have sprung this attempt to impose financial and other penalties on people who do not register. The practical implication of putting the onus on landlords to ensure payment is that people who are unable to pay may find themselves evicted. ”