Minister Simon Coveney trying to bully Oireachtas Water Committee - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused Simon Coveney of "trying to bully the Oireachtas Water Committee" and called on the Minister to "adhere to the process which he set up and respect its outcome".
Deputy Ó Broin said:
"Minister Coveney set up the process on the future of water charges that is now coming to an end. He said he wanted to take the heat out of the water charges debate and to let the Oireachtas have its say on the matter.
"He established an expert group and a special Oireachtas committee to bring forward recommendations on the issue of funding domestic water.
"Today the Committee moved towards a final conclusion of the issue with an emerging majority opposed to any domestic water charges, including a charge for so called excess use.
"While a final decision is expected tomorrow or next week it is clear that the Government is losing the argument.
"Tonight's intervention by Minister Coveney prior to the Committee concluding our business is wholly inappropriate. He is trying to bully the Committee with exaggerated claims on the supposed illegality of complete abolition of water charges.
"The Minister should stop interfering in the work of the Committee. He should adhere to the process he set up and respect the outcome of the Committee.
"The Minister will have plenty of time to respond to the Committee's final report when it is debated by the Dáil and Seanad later this month. But to try and influence the outcome of the Committee's deliberations is wrong and smacks of desperation.
"You have to wonder whether his new 'tough guy' stance is more to do with the impending Fine Gael leadership contest that with the issue of water charges. What is certain is having said he wanted to take the heat out of the water charges debate he has done the very opposite tonight."