Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has accused the Government of trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by diverting funds from motor tax and property tax to pay for a subvention for Irish Water. More than €861m in motor tax revenue will be handed over to the bloated utility company over a three year period as part of a subvention package agreed by the Government.
Deputy Cowen commented, “In the week that the Irish Water registration deadline, which wasn’t a deadline, expired and large swathes of the population refused to hand over their details, my party colleague Deputy Seán Fleming has uncovered the fact that the Government is now diverting money from other tax sources to prop up this super quango. It appears as if Ministers will stop at nothing, including the re-direction of essential local funding mechanisms, to continue to throw money at this ever-inflating quango.
“People have already paid for Irish Water through general taxation. In two months time they’ll pay again when the first bills from Irish Water land in their letterboxes, and now we learn that money handed over for car tax and property tax is being re-routed to cover the utility company’s costs. The Irish taxpayer is paying on the treble for a sub-standard service. Over €500m has been wasted on water meters which will not be used for at least 5 years, while another €90 was spent on consultants’ fees. Despite these extortionate costs, not one cent has been spent on fixing leaks or pipes.
“The Government is obviously concerned that Irish Water will not meet the so-called market corporation test, and is using all options open to it to secure revenue streams to keep it afloat. However, the manner in which the Government has gone about diverting essential local funds to pay for this financial fiasco raises questions about transparency.
“Fianna Fáil has been highly critical of this controversial utility. It has been a disaster from its inception, yet the Government continues to throw good money after bad. Now it’s diverting money away from much needed local projects to try and secure its future. The costs have already spiralled out of control and it is time that the Government swallowed its pride, accept that this model is unsustainable and begin again”.