Temporarily suspending water charges isn’t abolition – O’Reilly
Speaking today in a debate on Irish Water, Sinn Féin TD for Fingal Louise O’Reilly has said that the current talks on Irish Water are a damp squib, with Fianna Fáil refusing to honour their pre-election commitments to abolish water charges.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“Water charges are a big issue for families and communities right across the state. We have seen hundreds of thousands on the streets. People voted on this issue in vast numbers only 2 months ago. Their direction was clear: water charges need to go.
“On the negotiations, the phrase ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ springs to mind. Well, this deal being cooked by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil smells dodgy.
“The starting point must be the abolition of the household water charge. Temporarily suspending water charges isn't abolition.
“If Fianna Fáil cannot take the bull by the horns and act upon the mandate they were given; if they cannot honour the commitments they made; then what difference are they to Fine Gael and Labour who spectacularly reneged on election commitments in the last term?
“The people sent a strong statement that they want water charges abolished and for water services to be paid for through progressive general taxation. How can they trust politicians who promised abolition but who seem set to deliver a damp squib? How can they trust that what comes down the line after any suspension won’t be more punitive?
“What people can trust is Sinn Féin. We stood on the Right2Change platform. We have been consistent in our pledge: abolish water charges and abolish Irish Water. We stood with the people, we marched with them, and we have been there from day 1. There has been no road to Damascus conversion to win votes and swing certain constituencies á la Fianna Fáil.
“We were elected on a mandate and we are delivering on that.
“Sinn Féin have produced a Bill that would abolish water charges and scrap Irish Water. We are committed to following through on our election promise to bringing the issue of water charges to the Dáil. People don't just want to see us talking about water charges; they want us to take action. And the Water Services Repeal Bill 2016 will do just that. In the absence of a Sinn Féin-led government or majority support for this Bill, we will hold those other parties who promised likewise to account.”