Sunday 22 January 2017

Fianna Fáil put all the blame for water charges and Irish Water on Fine Gael

Say 2010 memo to their government came from the Green Party

John Downing, Political Correspondent

Published 19/02/2016 | 12:50

Micheál Martin (left) and Enda Kenny (right)
Micheál Martin (left) and Enda Kenny (right)

FIANNA Fáil today closed ranks to blame Fine Gael entirely for the debacle over water charges and Irish Water.

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Senior party figures backed Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s insistence that they never cleared a memorandum brought before their Government in October 2010, weeks before the arrival of the EU-ECG-IMF Troika, providing for water charges which were expected to be about €500 per household per year.

Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne, a former TD and election frontrunner in Meath East, said the memorandum was brought by Environment Minister and Green Party leader, John Gormley.

“There was no decision whatsoever made on that memorandum and memorandums are produced for Cabinet all the time,” Senator Byrne told reporters.

Senator Byrne backed what his party leader earlier told RTE’s Seán O’Rourke – that Irish Water, which is now a “complete debacle” was entirely a Fine plan.

Mr Byrne said Fianna Fáil had reproduced on their Facebook and Twitter pages a video of Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney announcing the planned creation of Irish Water back in June 2009.

“This was their grand plan, essentially, ultimately to privatise the water system,” Senator Byrne said.

“We made no decision whatever in relation to any water utility. That never came up in Cabinet,” Mr Byrne continued.

Asked again about why a memorandum was brought at all in October 2010, if it was intended to be ignored, he insisted that such things happened all the time.

“John Gormley brought that memorandum. He was not a member of Fiannna Fáil.  John Gormley brought that memorandum – and it went nowhere,” Mr Byrne said.

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