Wednesday 17 July 2019

Taoiseach: It is not true to say water meters are not required

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Political Correspondent

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has insisted the installation of water meters is necessary despite Bord Gais officials questioning the need to initially spend €540m on Irish Water’s metering programme.

It emerged over the weekend Bord Gais Eireann (now Ervia) officials, who were involved in setting up Irish Water, wrote to the Department of the Environment raising concerns about the cost of introducing water meters.

In a wide-ranging interview with Midwest Radio, Mr Kenny said: “It is not true to say water meters are not required”.

Mr Kenny said meters are necessary to identify leaks and to encourage water conservation.

He said he hoped people will continue to register with Irish Water and believes the revised water charges are “very affordable”.

He also questioned the motives behind some of those involved in recent water meter protests.

“What you saw on the streets in some cases has little to do with Irish Water, or little to do with water or little to do with  contributions,” he said

He added: “I think you can read between the lines yourself.”

Separately, Mr Kenny said he “made it clear” to Nama that the Government is not in favour of the State’s bad bank paying bonuses to developers.

Nama has denied it will pay bonuses to developers but said “incentivised arrangements” may be offered to debtors who reach certain financial targets.

“In these straightened times, when confidence is coming back, it’s much too early to consider bonuses,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny was also asked if he was concerned about Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice’s plan to set up a new political party and if he would go into the Government with the Roscommon South-Leitrim deputy after the next election.

“Deputy Fitzmaurice is elected and goodluck to the man,” he said

“He won a by-election fair and square and he is well able to articulate himself, I don’t have to do that for him.”

He added: “At the end of every election the figures will speak for themselves. My preference for the next Government is again a Government of Fine Gael and Labour.”

Mr Kenny criticised Mr Fitzmaurice’s proposal to abolish the party whip system if he was elected into Government.

“You can’t have systems where the plan isn’t clear. Michael Fitzmaurice is a farmer and he knows the cattle business very well.

“If you go to your local mart and there is no structure for getting the cattle into the ring then you have a fight every morning.

“If the whips arrive into the Dail at 10.30am and say “I think we’ll talk about Pakistan, Irish Water or whatever you want” and everyone disagrees and you get nothing done.

You’ve got to have structure that works.”

Mr Kenny said he changed the rules of the Dail to give opposition TDs more speaking time and put forward questions for the Government.

“In fact most of the business of the Dail is wide open for the opposition,” he added.

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