Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen has labelled the ‘Water Conservation Grant’ as a gimmick which will place a huge burden on the state.
Deputy Cowen pointed out that the controversial grant will not incentivise households to conserve water and will instead end up costing the state up to €135m this year alone. He says the only reason Minister for Environment Alan Kelly established the grant was to secure Eurostat’s approval for Irish Water, a move which ended up backfiring spectacularly.
“The arrival of sign-up letters for the ‘Water Conservation Grant’ into letter boxes this week is a timely reminder of Minister Kelly’s disastrous handling of the water charges fiasco” said Deputy Cowen.
“When Minister Kelly announced details of the grant payment it was transparently obvious that it was a desperate attempt to hoodwink Eurostat into giving a clean bill of health for Irish Water. However this stunt backfired spectacularly last July when Eurostat failed to endorse Irish Water and pointed out that the payment will not lead to any water being conserved.
“This payment is nothing short of a gimmick and it is a petty attempt at buying off the public in exchange for people ignoring Minister Kelly’s mishandling of water charges. Unfortunately for the Minister it is clear that the Irish public will not be as forgiving as he perhaps first anticipated.
“This gimmick is set to cost the taxpayer up to €135m this year alone. So far to date the Irish taxpayer is €800m worse off as a result of the establishment of Irish Water. This is money that could have been invested in water infrastructure in order to stop leaks and conserve water. Not an extra cent is being spent on water infrastructure above the €500m per annum Fianna Fáil spent in Government.
“Minister Kelly needs to end his cynical tactics of throwing good money after bad in a desperate and frantic attempt to cover over the major fault lines engulfing Irish Water. This super-quango is a massive drain on public finances should be abolished without any further delay.”