Monday 19 February 2018

Taoiseach critical of FF water submission

Enda Kenny argued that Irish Water made huge improvements to the water quality in many parts of the country (Stock photo)
Enda Kenny argued that Irish Water made huge improvements to the water quality in many parts of the country (Stock photo)
John Downing

John Downing

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rounded on Fianna Fáil for once again calling for the outright abolition of water charges.

Under the so-called "Confidence and Supply" arrangement underpinning the minority Coalition charges are suspended for nine months as an expert Commission set up to examine their future starts its work.

But Fianna Fáil, in their submission to the Commission, said it wants the charges abolished and the provision of water funded from general taxes.

Their party leader, Micheál Martin, denied that this amounted to U-turn.

Water charges first came into being as part of the 2010 bailout deal with the EU-ECB IMF Troika agreed by Fianna Fáil Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The Taoiseach was very critical of the stance taken in the Fianna Fáil submission.

"Fianna Fáil have returned to irresponsible public activity in the water area and I'm not sure what Fianna Fáil are at here," he told RTÉ radio.

Mr Kenny said he very strongly believed Ireland needed one single body overseeing the nation's water provision. He argued that Irish Water made huge improvements to the water quality in many parts of the country.

He said water conservation was essential and it was right for people to pay a fair and affordable contribution towards provision of an important scarce resource.

But speaking at Fine Gael's pre-Dáil meeting in Newbridge, Housing Minister Simon Coveney took a more conciliatory stance.

"You wouldn't expect Fianna Fáil to be proposing a new form of water charges in a submission to the expert commission," the Minister responsible for water charges said.

Mr Coveney said it was Fianna Fáil's right to outline a political position.

Irish Independent

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