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Peace Dividend must go beyond deferment of Water Charges

15 March, 2007

Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA Mitchel McLaughlin, who is leading negotiations on a Peace Dividend, speaking about media speculation that the British government will include the deferment of Water Charges for a year in its financial package has said that the package being negotiated with British Government and Treasury must go much further.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"There is speculation in the media that there will be deferment of water charges for a year so that the parties can revisit the issue in a power sharing Executive.

"Sinn Fein want to make it clear that a financial package that involves only deferment of water charges is not enough. This will only defer the problem for a year. It will not solve the problem.

"What is required on water is an injection of money to cover the capital investment that is needed to bring the water and sewerage system in the north of Ireland up to European standards. It is estimated that this will cost in the region of £3 billion.

"The reason why such a large sum of money is needed is because successive British governments failed to invest in our water and sewerage infrastructure. It is unfair and unrealistic to expect an incoming Executive, and the people of the north or Ireland, to pay for the failures of the British government." ENDS

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