Wednesday 13 November 2019

Sinn Féin accuses Fianna Fáil of 'flip-flopping' on water charges and putting their own party first

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John Downing

John Downing

Sinn Féin has delivered a scathing attack on rivals Fianna Fáil for doing a “U-turn” on water charges after agreeing a compromise with Fine Gael.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald denounced the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil confidence and supply deal which underpins the minority Government.

She said it was a “deal for connivance and cute hoorism” as she directed most of her fire at Fianna Fáil who she said were acting because of fear of an election.

Ms McDonald said Fianna Fáil had again “flip-flopped” on the water issue and acted against the will of the people.

“When it comes down to it – they will look after themselves first,” Ms McDonald said.

The compromise water deal agreed on Tuesday after weeks of haggling sees penalties for excessive use of water and the continued installation of water meters in newly-built homes. The compromise abolishes general water charges, with funding now coming from general taxation, and provides for refunds for those who already paid up.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader accused the Government of upending a draft deal by the all-party water committee of TDs and Senators. “You weren’t having that. You couldn’t listen to and accept the will of the people,” Ms McDonald said.

The Taoiseach strongly rejected the Sinn Féin allegations. He said Ms McDonald’s party lived in a world where they expected everything – including clean water – for nothing.

Later Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, made a low-key response to Ms McDonald and Sinn Fein rejecting their allegations. "I don't think anyone has received a water bill since last July. That's just an observation with all the outrage that's flying about," he told the Dáil.

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