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Sinn Féin support Water Charges legal challenge

6 October, 2006

Sinn Féin Regional Development spokesperson, Raymond McCartney MLA has publicly backed the legal challenge taken by the Consumer Council against the Department for Regional Development over the imposition of water charges.

Mr. McCartney said:

"Sinn Féin has consistently maintained our total opposition to the introduction of a separate charge for water and sewerage services.

"The role of the Consumer Council has been seriously undermined as the consumer watchdog in this whole process. The timing and roll out of the draft order leaves all of us feeling very sceptical indeed. This action has come about due to the complete lack of accountability under which Direct Rule operates.

"We have to ask, how can we ensure fairness, affordability, open and transparent scrutiny and proper consultation when the Water Reform agenda has been forced through in the manner which has resulted in this legal action today? Sinn Féin fully support the action taken today by the Consumer Council."

The Sinn Féin representative added that British Direct Rule has again been exposed by this legal action.

The Sinn Féin MLA said:

"This highlights the democratic deficit created by Direct Rule. The hidden agenda within the so-called 'reform agenda' is to try and force householders to pay a double water tax and pave the way for the privatisation of the Water Service.

"The only way to resolve this issue is with the restoration of a locally accountable administration. That means the DUP and the rest of us engaging on the basis of power sharing to show leadership on such key issues. Let us not overlook the opportunity which presents itself in the time ahead." ENDS

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