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Coalition at sixes and sevens over conservation grant – Ellis

20 August, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has described at the coalition as “at sixes and sevens” over the conservation grant. Their comments come as it emerged that Minister Michael Noonan had previously overruled Minister Alan Kelly on linking the conservation grant to paying water charges. That it has taken a revolt from Fine Gael backbenchers to force such a change is only further proof that the approach to Irish Water and domestic water charges has been flawed from the beginning and could only be described as haphazard at best, opined the Dublin North West TD.

Deputy Ellis said:

“The government have scrambled from crisis to crisis with Irish Water and it now emerges that the coalition are not even on the same page when it comes to how the conservation grant is to be paid out. Minister Noonan overruled Minister Kelly previously when it came to linking the conservation grant to paid bills. It has taken a backbencher revolt in Fine Gael for the government to revisit the issue. Labour must surely be tired of playing second fiddle to Fine Gael and suffering the consequences; it has not stopped them from talking of election pacts though.

“The government now say that they have a ten year plan for Irish Water. The government needs to face facts, Irish Water is not, will not, and has never been the correct choice for the supply of water in this country. There must be a single public utility for the supply of clean, fresh drinking water for every home in the country, free of domestic water charges. Sinn Féin is committed to abolishing Irish Water and delivering that public utility in government.

“The next protest against water charges is 29th of August and the government will see then that the conservation grant should not be their greatest concern. The 57% of households that have not paid their bills and the thousands still prepared to mobilise against the latest tax should be their concern. The government is losing this battle and should realise they have to throw in the towel. ” 

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