Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming TD criticised the underhand approach taken by the government in attempting to bring in a series of amendments to Water legislation today. The government has introduced some 33 pages of amendments to the Environmental Miscellaneous Provisions Bill which was only originally 29 pages long and designed to deal with air and chemical pollution.

“The government is using one bill as a Trojan horse to avoid further debate on its own water legislation amendments. It is introducing a series of amendments at the latest possible stage in the Dáil to a bill that has nothing to do with water charges in order to avoid facing real scrutiny on it. However they have been caught red handed” said Deputy Fleming.

“This is more of the lack of transparency and accountability we have to come to expect from the fiasco that is Irish Water. The government simply hasn’t learned any lessons and is trying to get in further changes under the radar. The amendments put forward late this afternoon included setting up a new water conservation grant database, making voluntary housing associations liable for water charges, making registration with Irish Water compulsory and placing a charge of the sale of a home if the water bills have not been paid.

“The Dáil has not had the chance to debate these substantial changes and now they are being put under the umbrella of an entirely separate bill. Fianna Fáil has always opposed the creation of a new super quango and the government’s behaviour today shows why. We will be writing to the Ceann Comhairle to protest this underhanded playacting by Minister Kelly. People should not be hoodwinked by this dishonest politics. If he believes in the water charge system he has helped create then he should not be afraid to openly debate it in the Dáil. Instead he is trying to make changes under the cover of parliamentary darkness” Deputy Fleming concluded.