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Coveney should butt out of water committee work - Ó Bróin

5 January, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and party spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Bróin TD has called on Minister Coveney to “butt out of water committee work”. His comments come as the Minister weighs in on the contentious issue of charging for “excess use” of water.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The cross party committee was set up by the government to make recommendations based on the report of the so-called Expert Commission on Water. The committee has only met once and should be allowed to make its recommendations without being influenced by the opinion of Minister Coveney. Fine Gael has five members on the committee. They can make their case on what constitutes “excess use” when it comes up for debate during the committee.  

“Sinn Féin’s position on this is clear. Domestic water charges must be abolished in full. The excess use charge argument is a red herring. The facts are, according to the Expert Commission Report that:

“Domestic consumption is relatively low in Ireland with average consumption of 123 litres per capita (compared, for example, to 140 litres per capita in the UK). This metered data also indicated that 7% of households are using six times more water than the average household, although Irish Water indicated this level of consumption is likely to decline as customer-side leaks are fixed.”

“We need to move on from the water charges debate. The debate could have been ended months ago if the government allowed a vote to be tabled for the abolition of the charges. Instead they choose to kick the can down the road.

“Sinn Féin is on record as saying the establishment of the expert commission and Oireachtas Committee was a farce. The government only went down this route to appease Fianna Fáil and to find a way of re-instating Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.  Minister Coveney’s latest interference in the work of the Committee further demonstrates how the result of the water charge debate is a forgone conclusion in the minds of Fine Gael.“

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