Sinn Féin denies MEP at odds with party on water fees
Sinn Féin has been called on to fully explain its position on water charges after a committee led by one its own MEPs called on all EU member states to introduce a "progressive charge" based on water usage.
The report, produced by the European Parliament's Environment Committee, recommends the introduction of "a pricing policy that respects people's right to a minimum quantity of water for living and cracks down on waste, providing for the application of a progressive charge that is proportional to the amount of water used".
The report also examined various issues surrounding water quality and public health and is due to be debated by the European Parliament.
But the key finding in relation to pricing has put the spotlight on Sinn Féin, whose Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan chaired the committee that produced the report on water.
Leading Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness said the report was clear that Ms Boylan is in favour of a progressive charging regime for water.
"It does pose the question of what Sinn Féin's policy is on water and where they stand on big issues for Ireland, such as the investment in water infrastructure, putting a stop to leakages and the sustainable consumption of water into the future," Ms McGuinness told the Irish Independent.
In a statement last night, a Sinn Féin spokeswoman denied that the report led by Ms Boylan contradicted the party's position on water charges in Ireland.
"People previously paid for water through a progressive charge, ie, general taxation. Sinn Féin ministers have blocked the introduction of water charges in the North," she said.
"It is our commitment that a Sinn Féin-led government in the South would end water charges and return to fund water from progressive general taxation."
The party would not say if Ms Boylan was seeking to have the report amended.