Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has criticised the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan for his total disregard for promises, procedures and for the public.
Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “In reply to a Parliamentary Question from me on 08 March 2012, Minister Hogan confirmed that he intends signing a Commencement Order for the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 in advance of commencing the registration system, which is expected to be operational in mid-April 2012.
“That fact that the Minister would do this after breaking his promise to publish the Draft Regulations on the maintenance and upgrade standards that will apply under this Act shows a total disregard for the people and an arrogance that is beyond belief.
“A number of weeks ago I was informed that the regulations under this Act would be published the following week. This is not the first time that totally incorrect information was given on the record of the Dáil. Instead of publishing the Draft Regulations, what was actually published was a woolly, fluffy document that will have absolutely no force of law.
“I am calling on Minister Hogan to defer commencement of the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012, until he has published the regulations outlining the standards of maintenance and operation of septic tanks, and these regulations are approved by Dáil Éireann. To do otherwise is to ask the people to buy a pig in a poke, and thousands of septic tank owners will refuse to register until this information is made available.
“The Minister has indicated that people will have one year from the time of the commencement of registration to register and I will be urging all septic tank owners to avail of this time to refuse to register until the Minister solves the outstanding issues in relation to this act. These relate to the inspection standards that will apply, the provision of grants to put septic tank owners on a par with urban dwellers, and the elimination of all registration and inspection charges as well as other vital issues.
“Minister Hogan’s refusal to adhere to Oireachtas procedures and facilitate a proper debate on this legislation is unprecedented. He does not seem to not understand that rural people are aware of the enormous consequences of this Act if all of the issues I have raised are not addressed.”