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Water Charges - DUP accused of letting NIO off the hook

8 December, 2005


Sinn Féin Regional Development Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said 'It is only through a functioning Assembly with accountable local ministers that the best interests of people here will be put ahead of the interests of Whitehall mandarins'. He accused the DUP of letting the British government off the hook by refusing to engage to get the political institutions back up and running.

Mr McCartney said:

"In their proposals announced today, the British government have recognised that their plans would have meant that those least able to afford water charges would be hit hardest. They now need to listen to the other concerns and arguments against water charging being put forward by communities across the north, politicians and NGOs.

"The fact is that people have already paid for water services through their rates. This money should have been invested in our water services and not squandered by successive British administrations. It is unacceptable that the British government are now asking people to pay for the NIO's failures.

"Whatever about the detail announced today the reality is that locally accountable ministers should be finding a way forward to secure the investment required to bring our water and sewerage infrastructure up to international standards.

"Opposition to water charges and the privatisation agenda is widespread. It is only through a functioning Assembly with accountable local ministers that the best interests of people here will be put ahead of the interests of Whitehall mandarins.

"If people are opposed to water charges then they should understand that it is the DUP that are letting the British government away with it by refusing to engage and get the institutions up and running." ENDS

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