Fianna Fáil’s Communications, Energy and Natural Resources spokesperson, Michael Moynihan TD, is calling on Minister Rabbitte to intervene in a dispute over new charges proposed by the Commission for Energy Regulation.

“Today in the Minister’s own constituency a group of plumbing and heating contractors are demonstrating outside the CER offices over new training charges”, commented Deputy Moynihan.

“The CER’s proposal to charge plumbers for new training is as unnecessary as it is contentious. Everyone wants better training and the plumbers and heating contractors have put forward a proposal on no-charge continuous professional development (CPD) that deserves serious consideration. We are calling on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to intervene here, persuade the CER to back off and give the plumber’s CPD proposal a fair hearing.

Deputy Moynihan added, “We have had concerns for some time about the regulator’s hands-off approach to the problem of illegal activity in this sector. At the same time as illegal operators are allowed go unpunished, the regulator is threatening registered plumbers and installers with a removal of their right to work from 1st January next unless they sign up to the CER’s costly training plan.  This is a very heavy handed approach to the ordinary, compliant plumber especially when you contrast it with the state’s inactivity in the face of widespread illegal activity in the industry.

“The Minister can’t stand idly by here and allow the good guys of the industry to get bullied with threats to their livelihood. The current approach is neither fair nor effective and as the person responsible, the Minister has to act now to stop it”.