Monday 18 November 2019

It's all about language: Clongowes versus Clara

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

It's time for everybody on the water committee to take a long hot bath with some scented candles and smelling salts.

We, the taxpayers, won't even complain if they overfill it a little bit - provided the moment for reflection brings some common sense.

After 20 meetings to find a political solution to an environmental problem TDs and senators ended up arguing over the difference between a 'penalty' and a 'levy'.

And the survival of the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil confidence and supply arrangement depends on definition of 'excessive' versus the meaning of 'abusive use of water'. We've been on this roundabout before. Fine Gael say they are the party of law and order and that we must obey EU regulations. Fianna Fáil say they are representing the common man who voted to abolish water charges.

Simon Coveney puts on an earnest performance. Barry Cowen puts on bullish performance.

It's Clongowes English versus Clara English.

The farce that has been the past 24 hours was always a possibility but few would have predicted the two protagonists ending up in a Twitter spat.

This is Round Three for Coveney and Cowen. Mr Cowen won the original battle over water in the wake of the General Election. The minister hit back during a row over measures to try limit rent increases. That kick-started his leadership bid. And now we have the tiebreaker.

Mr Cowen has claimed Fine Gael "internal politics" is behind the party's angst, a clear indication he believes Mr Coveney is using the issue to try enhance his credentials.

However, Fine Gael sources believe it's actually a case of Mr Cowen attempting to influence with the forthcoming leadership election. Either the two TDs with very different styles are far from finished.

Irish Independent

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