Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen TD has strongly criticised the Government for its latest attempt to conceal information held by the Department of the Taoiseach about the state of Irish Water and the Government’s control of the Super Quango.
Fianna Fáil had submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of the Taoiseach seeking all briefing notes and agreed actions from meetings held in the Department regarding Irish Water from January 2014 to date. The Department has refused to carry out the FOI request without a fee of €400 being paid.
Deputy Cowen said, “The Irish Water saga is becoming increasingly farcical as it begins to affect every level of Government. It appears that the Taoiseach’s Department is now so sensitive about its involvement in Irish Water that they are seeking to charge a significant and unprecedented fee to potentially block the Freedom of Information request being processed.
“I believe the Taoiseach’s Department does not want to issue the information requested because it would show the crisis which exists at the heart of Government as a result of the continuously failing policies they are pursuing to keep Irish Water afloat.
“The Department have said that the fee arises from the amount of hours which will have to be dedicated to producing the information. Yet, this request is no different to requests we put in on many other topics which would generally contain much more paperwork. In fact, our request has a specific time limit which should dramatically reduce the workload.
“Either the Taoiseach has been directly involved in running the failed Irish Water resulting in huge amounts of documentation, or the Department has just decided to frustrate Freedom of Information legislation to hide the crisis currently engulfing the Government. Nonetheless, Fianna Fáil will pursue this request and pay the fees required. However, it is a further example of how the so called ‘Democratic Revolution’ lies in tatters.”