Coveney in election gamble as FF issues water bill ultimatum
Ending charges would risk huge EU fines, says FG
Housing Minister Simon Coveney is to risk a general election by facing down an ultimatum from Fianna Fáil over the scrapping of water charges.
The minister believes it would be "blatantly irresponsible" to introduce legislation to permanently end charges and leave Ireland open to massive fines from the EU.
In a high-risk strategy, senior Fianna Fáil figures said they would be prepared for an early election rather than support the reintroduction of a charging regime.
Fianna Fáil TDs last night accused Mr Coveney of placing the Confidence and Supply Agreement at risk.
"The Confidence and Supply Agreement is being compromised by his actions," the party's water spokesman, Barry Cowen, said.