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Government ramming through a water services Bill which asset-strips local authorities – McDonald

17 December, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has stated the Government is ramming through a water services Bill which asset-strips local authorities.

Deputy McDonald was speaking during Leaders Questions on the Government’s forcing through of the Water Services No.2 Bill which will transfer water services from local authorities to the new company.

She said;

“Taoiseach, your Government is engineering this disastrous development by ramming through the Water Services 2 Bill at the 11th hour so that it can become law in the New Year without any councillor in the state having had the opportunity to cast a vote.

“Dublin City Council is to be asset-stripped to the tune of €2 Billion following the take-over of its services by the company, Irish Water.

“The City Manager has been quite clear about what this will mean:
Higher water charges for the city's businesses; damage to the Council's ability to respond to severe weather events; and huge financial and operational risks to the biggest and most important local authority in the state.

“Dublin City Council is facing pension liabilities for water service staff of €330 million without the assets to fund them.

“Taoiseach, it is normal practice that when a public function is transferred from one authority to another, responsibility for legacy pensions is also transferred.

“But in this situation we are witnessing the transfer of major assets – built up over many years by the businesses and the people of this city - with no compensation whatsoever to the City Council.

“Furthermore, Dublin City Council was obliged to sign agreements to provide water services for the company Irish Water for the next 12 years and, although the transfer is due to take place on the 1st of January, has not been given a final draft of the service level agreement.

“Taoiseach, will your Government withdraw this Bill and take a step-back and urgently review the reckless water services strategy being pursued by Minister Hogan?

“Will you remove the prospect from struggling citizens of facing yet more money being taken from their pockets in the form of domestic water charges and higher water charges for businesses as well?"

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