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Coveney needs to clarify claims and publish legal advice – Boylan

1 March, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for Minister Simon Coveney to publish the legal advice given to him by the Attorney General in relation to the legal position of European Commission in relation to water charges and subsequent fines, given that she has legal advice to the contrary.

MEP Boylan said:

“It is imperative in the interest of trust and truth that Minister Coveney come forward with his legal advice that Ireland would incur EU fines if water legislation does not have a provision for ‘excessive use’. The reason that the advice needs to be published is because there is legal advice to the contrary as well as a dearth of information of obfuscation and deceitfulness on behalf of the European Commission on this subject. Not to mention the academic research that shows household metering to be ineffective and not good value for money if the aim is to conserve water. All of which Minister Coveney and sections of the Irish media find it convenient to ignore.

“There needs to be clarity around the EU commission position on water charges instead of conveniently hiding behind simple narratives because of fear of the complexity of the Water Framework Directive.

“Before the EU Commission embarked on their own mendacious campaign, they clearly stated that Ireland could avail of a derogation on water charges in its second River Basin Management plan and that there could be no judgement cast on Ireland’s compliance until that plan is submitted later in December this year.

“Most importantly, in relation to Minister Coveney’s comments yesterday, he either forgot or ignored to mention a significant point, that the Water framework directive is up for review within the next two years and that will give the Irish Government, and Irish MEPs, the opportunity to further strengthen Irelands model of water management.

“Sinn Fein and our legal opinion believes that with the proper investment in water infrastructure and the rolling out of a comprehensive water conservation education programme, Ireland would be able to demonstrate its full compliance with the objectives of the water framework directive.

“A final point in all this that needs to be raised is Fine Gael’s breathtaking hypocrisy on the EU, Coveney and his Fine Gael colleagues have no problem at all spending millions of taxpayers’ money on defending Apple, yet when it comes to defending the democratic wishes of the people against the EU, it is back to the forelock tugging.” 

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