Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has responded to Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore’s comments that water charges will be delayed until mid-2015.
Deputy Cowen commented, “The more we hear from individual Ministers on the issue of water reform, the clearer it becomes that the Government is making it up as it goes along. Just days after the Minister responsible for water charges Phil Hogan confirmed that charges will be introduced on January 1st 2014, the Labour Party Leader has now attempted to overrule him.
“Given the volume of public spending that will go into the Government’s dismantling of the current system and the numbers of families affected by their water charging plans, such incoherence at a senior level should be a cause for major concern.
“In his comments, the Tánaiste talks about the poor progress on installing meters as a reason to postpone charges. Yet again, there is nothing in the reported comments of a senior minister about the quality of our water system, its reliability or its efficiency and how these factors should influence the timetable for charging.
“Fianna Fáil agrees that water charges should not be introduced in 2014, but the reasons are much more fundamental. Fianna Fáil believes that before any charges are introduced, citizens should have some basic guarantees around the quality, reliability and efficiency of a service they are being asked to pay for.
“The fact that Éamon Gilmore chose to overrule another Minister at a press conference in Turkey, on a day when serious questions are being asked about his leadership by colleagues back home, raises the suspicion that this announcement has more to do with Labour Party politics than anything else.
“The Tánaiste’s apparent disinterest in the real issues around water reform strengthens the suspicion that this latest Labour Party PR is straightforward political posturing.”