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Government muddying the waters on public service investment – Ó Broin

22 September, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and party spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin TD has reminded the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe that his government made the decision to prioritise tax cuts for the wealthy over investment in public services and that it is misleading for him to claim that the suspension of water charges had any impact on this position.

Deputy Ó Broin was responding to a statement made by the Minister that claimed that funding for Irish Water, due to the suspension of the charges, would be competing with other spending needs including housing.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said:

“Minister Donohoe is deliberately muddying the waters with respect to public expenditure for Budget 2017 and beyond. The issue is not investment in water infrastructure versus housing, but prioritising investment in public services over tax cuts for the wealthy. This government has the opportunity and the means to upgrade the crumbling water infrastructure and fund the building of significantly more houses; however it is choosing to slash taxes instead.

“Minister Donohoe is deliberately misrepresenting the funding status of Irish Water. The company is on the state balance sheet after failing the Eurostat market test last year and is likely to remain on the balance sheet for the next couple of years. Furthermore, the crisis in our water system is not down to the absence of domestic charges, but the unwillingness of this Government and previous governments to commit significant long term investment in upgrading the system. 

“Being in government is about making choices. Sinn Féin would prioritise investment in public services over the short term gain of cutting taxes that would mostly benefit those earning the most. We have an alternative to domestic water charges. Water services should be brought fully into public ownership and we would commit to a ten year capital investment programme funded through general taxation. The funds are there, it’s just a question of where your priorities lie.” 

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