Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has confirmed that his party will table a counter motion on the issue of water charges and the future of Irish Water this week. He also criticised Sinn Féin for using Private Members time for political point scoring rather than achieving progress on key policy areas.
Deputy Cowen commented, “We are putting forward our own amendment to this motion, which sets out a clear path to end water charges through legislation as agreed in the Confidence and Supply arrangement which facilitates this Government.
“This sees the immediate suspension of water charges and the establishment of an expert commission to recommend how best to finance our water service into the future. It will then be up to the Dáil to decide the best route forward.
“When it mattered – when the Dáil was trying to form a Government, Fianna Fáil did the hard negotiating and achieved a path forward on water charges and Irish Water, while others stood on the sidelines and sniped. As a result of that work, legislation will now come forward to stop bills being issued until such times as a majority of deputies in Dáil Éireann vote for their reintroduction.
“It is disappointing that following the success of the Fianna Fáil Private Members initiative last week on mortgages, Sinn Féin is reverting to type and ignoring the opportunity offered by the new Dáil arithmetic. Instead of bringing forward any sort of innovative policy work, they’re choosing to waste the opportunity on meaningless political point scoring.
“The issue of water charges has already been dealt with. The real test for Sinn Féin and others will be the extent to which they engage with the Water Commission when it starts its work, rather than their posturing on no-consequence motions.”