Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said he is deeply disappointed but not surprised by Fianna Fáil’s latest U-turn on water charges. His comments come as Fianna Fáil vote with Fine Gael on the final Water Committee report.
Teachta Brady said:
“On Tuesday, the Water Committee received what I believe to be contradictory legal advice from the same legal source as last Thursday. The new advice recommended several profound changes to the final report which is a significant shift back to the Fine Gael position that the Committee rejected by a 12-8 majority last week.
“Fianna Fáil has conceded a number of major issues. The party is effectively now in favour of volumetric water charges for excessive use based on average household usage and mandatory domestic metering in all new builds and refurbishments.
“Having marched his troops up the hill, Deputy Barry Cowen has backed down and allowed for universal water charges to be introduced through the back door. The decision taken today by Fianna Fáil has absolutely nothing to do with complying with EU law and everything to do with Fianna Fáil’s fear of a general election. They have broken their key election pledge to abolish water charges having previously abandoned their pledge to scrap Irish Water.
“The thousands of people who marched on the Right2Water demo on Saturday made their views very clear. Any party that breaks its election pledges on water charges will not be forgiven. Page five of the Fianna Fáil’s 2016 General Election manifesto clearly makes a commitment to abolish water charges. This is another embarrassing climb down for the party off the back of its defeat on the rent legislation before Christmas.
"Fine Gael have got their way and, despite Fianna Fáil's huffing and puffing over the weekend, they have caved into Minister Simon Coveney’s threat to force an election if he didn't get his way.
“Sinn Féin will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to introduce water charges through the back door in the subsequent legislation arising from Tuesday's deeply disappointing water committee report.”