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Sinn Féin welcomes Committee efforts to prioritise work on water charges

16 May, 2007

Speaking after the first meeting of the Regional Development Committee at the Assembly this morning, Sinn Féin Party spokesperson on Regional Development, Raymond McCartney welcomed the fact that the water reform agenda will be a major priority for the Committee and the Department to resolve in the coming weeks and months.

Mr McCartney said:

"I am heartened by the first meeting of the Regional Development Committee with the fact that the water charges issue will be dealt with as a matter of immediate concern both for the Department, the Executive and this Committee. All the parties represented on the committee restated their commitment to ensuring that the review process of water charging is a key area to be delivered upon. Today's meeting also reassures the public that they can have confidence in the role of public representatives to get on with the job we have been tasked with and that every section of society can hold all of us to account. There is no better issue than the water charges to show that we can take control of our own affairs and to work through them in an open and transparent fashion.

The Sinn Féin MLA expressed that the presence of the newly appointed Minister for Regional Development, Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy and the manner in which he updated and outlined his and indeed the Deprtment's willingness to include the input and considerations of the Committee into the Executive review of the water charges as a huge step in moving forward in dealing with this important issue. Being the Transport spoeksperson I was particularly happy with the news that Derry and the North West will benefit from infrastructure projects, being devised under the New NDP plan - specifically the Derry to Belfast route and the Derry - Dublin route, both in terms of rail and road networks.

"The attendance of DRD Minister, Conor Murphy and the open and positive contribution he outlined as to the way forward in working to resolve the issue of water charging, rural planning, transport, and the many issues for which he has responsibility, only reaffirms that which was missing by the previous Direct Rule administration. The level, content and exchange of views expressed and shared by the Minister and his officials shows the huge potential for all of us to deliver real and meaningful change, for the better to everyone. Let today be a marker for the type of development we need to see taking place not just in relation to water but across every sector and every area of the country." ENDS

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