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Water Services Bill another example of government kicking difficult issues into touch – Ó Broin

24 June, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoin Ó Broin has called the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2016, “another example of this government kicking difficult issues into touch.”

Despite the majority a majority of the 32nd Dáil being elected on an anti-water charges platform, the Bill that was debated today only provides for the suspension of domestic water charges for nine months. The Bill also fails to deal with the issue of arrears from the first year of billing.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The Bill debated today is a result of a ‘grubby little deal’ made between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to secure power.

“This Bill doesn’t provide for the abolition of Irish Water and it does not guarantee that domestic water charges will be discontinued.

“It only offers a temporary suspension of domestic water charges, which is contrary to all Fianna Fáil’s pre-election promises.

“The expert commission does not provide a ‘clear path for an end to water charges’. 

“All the suspension and commission does is buy time for the government.

“For a real review to be effective, the expert commission must address the key concerns of water poverty and water conservation, and not solely focus on payment models for water charges.

“The enormous problems in our water and sanitation services are as a result of decades of severe under investment by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil led governments.

“The government does not want to invest in water and sanitation services. It has chosen tax cuts over investment in public services.

“The Right2Water movement has outlined an alternative to failed water policies of previous governments.

“Water will be provided for on the basis of need and not on ability to pay. Water services will be funded through direct taxation. 

“Public ownership of water and water services must be enshrined in the Constitution.

“It will be delivered through a democratically accountably and transparent board working with the river basin management groups and local authorities. 

“It will implement an ambitious capital investment programme in the water and sewage system, while meeting the broad objectives of the European Water Framework Directive.

“The Right2Water movement will be watching Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil closely on this issue.

“There will be a huge electoral cost for any politician that was elected on a platform for the abolition of charges and then fails to keep their promise.

“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for the total abolition of domestic water charges and keep our manifesto promise.” 

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