Political games continue over water charges – Ó Broin
Responding to reports that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are at loggerheads over the composition of the Oireachtas Committee on Water, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin questioned Minister Coveney on the controversy this afternoon in the Dáil.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“A special Oireachtas Committee on the future of water charges is due to start meeting in the coming weeks to review and discuss the recommendations on the future of domestic water charges proposed by the so-called expert commission. It would seem as if the decision on the composition of this Oireachtas Committee has been delayed. Contrary to Minister Coveney’s claims during questions today, no proposal was tabled at the today’s Oireachtas Business Committee, despite what we were led to believe following discussions with the Minister yesterday.
“If today’s Irish Times report that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are squabbling over the composition and chairpersonship of the committee is true, that is regrettable. One would have to wonder whether this is just an attempt by both parties to delay the inevitable vote on water charges.
“Sinn Féin has no objections to the Minister’s proposals for a 20 member committee, so long as it is inclusive. In fact, on the basis of what the Minister has outlined to members, there is a strong likelihood that the Committee will have a strong anti-water charges majority. While this would be welcome as it would reflect the democratic will of the electorate, it is important that the committee will undertake its work quickly to the enable the Dáil to make a final decision on this issue by the end of February.
“The majority of those elected last February were elected on an anti-water charges platform. The government should have accepted this before potentially wasting nearly €300,000 of tax payers’ money on an expert commission. Domestic water charges need to be abolished and the issue must be put to bed. Sinn Féin has demonstrated in our Alternative Budget how water charges can be scrapped, while at the same time, significantly increasing investment in upgrading our decrepit water services.”