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Missed opportunity to end the farce of domestic water charges - Ó Broin

29 September, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin has expressed his disappointment that the Sinn Féin motion calling for the immediate abolition of water charges was voted down this afternoon.

Deputy Ó Broin said: 

“The Dáil missed an opportunity today to put a permanent end to the debate on water charges by voting against a Sinn Féin motion calling for the charges to be abolished. Fine Gael and its partner in government Fianna Fail have instead chosen to continue with the charade of the so-called independent expert commission and the unnecessary Oireachtas committee.

“More time and taxpayers money will be wasted debating this issue when it’s clear that voters want this charge abolished, not suspended. Minister Coveney’s desperate attempt to take the heat out of the debate hasn’t worked. Contrary to the words in the Minister’s counter motion yesterday, there is no deliberative process in train on the future of water charges. 

“The so called expert commission is a waste of taxpayers’ money, labouring under an extremely narrow terms of reference, which exclude any examination of the structure and ownership of water services. Nor do the terms of reference allow for the consideration of the important issues of water poverty and sustainability. 

“The commission will now do its work and forward its pre-determined recommendations to the Government. A special Oireachtas committee will be formed to consider those recommendations and early next year the Dáil will be asked to vote on the recommendation of the Committee. 

“In my view, this is an incredible waste of time and money. We have been debating these issues since the introduction of water charges in 1994 and their abolition in 1997. We took up the debate again debating with the publication of the Fianna Fáil Water Services Bill in 2003, the Water Services Act in 2008 and the Fianna Fáil/ Green Party Programme for Government in 2008. We don’t need another debate on the matter. We need action. It’s unfortunate that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have again failed to listen to the democratic voice of the people.” 

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