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Why does the Taoiseach want to prevent scrutiny of the Water Services Bill? – Ó Broin

2 November, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin has questioned why the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil feel the need to prevent scrutiny of the Water Services Bill 2017. 

The Dublin North-West said it was clear that the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit was trying to lay the blame for the delay at Sinn Féin’s door.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The Taoiseach is being disingenuous when he attacks Sinn Féin for allegedly delaying water charge refunds. He knows full well that the delay has been caused by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

“The Water Services Bill 2017 was due to be published in June of this year. It was delayed because of the Fine Gael leadership contest.

“It was then to be published in July but again was delayed, this time due to back room wrangling between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“It was published at the end of September and started it passage through the Dáil in October. 

“Despite this delay, the Government, with the support of Fianna Fáil are now trying to rush it though all stages. Why are they trying to prevent proper scrutiny of the Bill? What are they trying to hide?

“The legislation is about much more than refunds. It deals with complex issues such as the charge for so called excessive use, exemptions for larger families and those with medical issues. 

“Given the Governments track record rushing through badly drafted water and planning legislation, it is important that TDs do the job we are paid to do and fully scrutinise the Bill to ensure it does not contain errors or unintended consequences.

“Minister Murphy was foolish when he promised people refunds before the end of December. Taoiseach Varadkar is being dishonest when he tried to place the blame on Sinn Féin to cover up his own responsibility.

“And now, his Strategic Communications Unit is at work, laying the blame in the public arena laying the blame and Sinn Féin and other left-wing TDs’ doors.

“It is also no surprise that Fianna Fáil are supporting the Government in seeking to rush this legislation. They want to avoid the embarrassment of yet another water charges U-turn. 

“They are also embarrassed that the Bill does not provide for a referendum on public ownership of water services, equality of treatment for those on group water schemes or stronger water conservation measures, all key recommendations of the Oireachtas Water Committee Report.” 

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