Fianna Fáil has described as ‘shameful’ the Government’s attempts to ram through far-reaching legislation giving effect to water charges and transferring local authority assets to Irish Water.
The party’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has said that failure to allow proper scrutiny of the proposed legislation would be a big mistake that could cost taxpayers for many years to come.
“Instead of introducing much needed reforms to our water services around the country, all the effort has gone into establishing a super quango at enormous expense to the taxpayer that will essentially be accountable to no one,” said Deputy Cowen.
“The Taoiseach’s spin that this is all about fixing leaks is a complete and utter sham. The legislation that is being rammed through the Dáil this week in a matter of hours will impact every single household, every single tax payer and every single community in the country. Not only will it introduce water charges, it will see the transfer of local authority assets to Irish Water – a new super quango that is currently totally exempt from public scrutiny. And yet the Government doesn’t see fit to allocate sufficient time to debate it.
“In an attempt to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, the Government has tried to give the impression that it has extended debate on the water services legislation over two days. But there is little or no additional debate time as it will be interrupted by Private Members Business, Leaders Questions and Order of Business, and will have to share time with four other Bills on Thursday before it is guillotined.
“This makes a complete mockery of political reform. This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to come before the Oireachtas. The very least that the Government can do is allocate the necessary time to debate the proposals and consider amendments.”