Commissioner Vella's letter to Brian Hayes MEP ‘extremely revealing’ - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin has described the contents of a letter from the European Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella as “extremely revealing” and said it confirms that Simon Coveney’s charge for a so called excess water use “is a Trojan horse for universal water charges”.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Yet again Fine Gael and the European Commission are trying to influence the work of the Oireachtas Water Committee. Despite the fact that Minister Coveney set the Committee up to ‘take the heat’ out of the water debate, his party and their allies in the Commission are seeking to apply inappropriate pressure to shape the outcome of the Committee’s work.
“The latest move comes in a carefully choreographed exchange of letters between Dublin MEP Brian Hayes and Commissioner Vella. As you would expect the Commissioner is seeking to help Fine Gael in their fake battle with Fianna Fail.
“However Commissioner Vella’s letter is extremely revealing and confirms what Sinn Féin has believed all along. Simon Coveney’s charge for so called excess water use is nothing more than a Trojan horse for universal water charges.
“Commissioner Vella’s opposition to Fianna Fáil’s proposal to use the 2007 Water Services act as an alternative to Fine Gaels excess water charge is extremely telling. He says that the the Fianna Fáil proposal would not establish a reliable source of revenue to cover the cost of water services.
“If this is true of Fianna Fáils proposal it is also true of Fine Gael’s excess water charge. Given the low level of household water consumption and the high cost of implementing the Fine Gael proposal, its charge would more than likely be loss making. As it would then fall could Commissioner Vella’s ‘reliable source of revenue’ test the Governments claim that charges would have to be expanded to all water users.
“Sinn Féin has said from the start that Simon Coveney’s proposal to charge for so called wilful waste of water is a Trojan horse. He wants to complete the universal water metering programme, put in place a billing system and over time expand charges to all households.
“Sinn Féin remains committed to the complete abolition of this unwanted and unjust form of double taxation. A majority of TDs in the 32nd Dáil support this position. We have wasted enough time debating the issue. It is time to allow the Dáil to decide once and for all to scrap the charge.”