Friday 21 July 2017

Timeline: FF's U-turns on issue

Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen, accompanied by (from left) Marc MacSharry, Willie O’Dea, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, Mary Butler and John Lahart at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen, accompanied by (from left) Marc MacSharry, Willie O’Dea, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, Mary Butler and John Lahart at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

January 16, 2016: During his speech to the party's Árd Fheis, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said: "We will scrap Irish Water, and the failed, loss-making charge which funds it."

February 11, 2016 - General Election campaign: The party's manifesto committed to abolishing both water charges and the public utility, Irish Water.

But during a speech on the same day, Mr Martin said his party would "abolish Irish Water and scrap water charges for the next five years".

The position would be reviewed in 2021, the Cork South Central TD said.

 

February 17, 2016: During an interview with RTÉ broadcaster Bryan Dobson, Mr Martin indicates that his party's position is to scrap charges entirely.

Micheál Martin. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Micheál Martin. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

 

February 19, 2016: Mr Martin tells RTÉ broadcaster Seán O'Rourke that charges will be scrapped until the "system is fixed".

 

March 9, 2016: Fianna Fáil's environment spokesman Barry Cowen appears to harden the party's stance on the issue.

"Fianna Fáil is committed to ending water charges and saving ordinary families €800 over the next five years," he said.

 

May 3, 2016: Fianna Fáil signs up to the 'confidence and supply agreement' which states that Irish Water will be retained but that charges will be suspended for nine months. The issue would then go to an Independent Expert Commission, and then an Oireachtas committee before being voted upon in the Dáil.

 

September 12, 2016: In its submission to the commission, Fianna Fáil proposes the abolition of charges and the provision of water funded by general taxation.

During an interview, Mr Martin denies suggestions of a u-turn.

"We've said from day one prior to the election and our submission is very consistent with our general election position," he said.

 

September 20, 2016: With Sinn Féin preparing to table a motion in the Dáil on the issue of water charges, Mr Martin appeared to alter his party's position once again.

He said that given the make-up of the Dáil, the return of charges was "unlikely".

"The only way that water charges can be reintroduced is via legislation by this Dáil and that is unlikely given the configuration of parties within the Dáil."

 

December 13, 2016: The water committee sits for the first time. Fianna Fáil has six members on board.

 

March 1, 2017: Many Fianna Fáil TDs are surprised as Mr Cowen states that the party will not support any form of excessive charge.

Irish Independent

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