Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen has said the Government is failing to listen to the genuine concerns and frustrations among the public about the creation of Irish Water and the imposition of water charges next year.

Deputy Cowen was commenting as thousands of people protested in Dublin on the issue.

He said: “This Government has botched the issue of water charges from the very beginning.  By setting up Irish Water the government have created a super quango that has squandered any hope of winning over public support with revelations about spending on consultants, bonuses and the installation of water meters that may never be utilised.

“The Government has performed up to a dozen u-turns on Irish Water and water charges since it first pursued this ill-conceived venture.  The one thing we have asked the Government to do today is to stop.  Halt the introduction of water charges.  And engage in a fully independent review of where this policy is going.  The public are frustrated and fed-up with the outrageous mess the Government have made of this issue.

“The Government needs to listen to the public and recognise it has made a complete debacle out of this.  By continuing to ignore the public and refusing to change course, the Government is further undermining its own authority and public trust in the political system.  Irish Water has been an unmitigated disaster since Fine Gael first came up with the idea in 2009 and it’s time to bring it to an end.”