Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that new measures outlined by the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly in relation to Irish Water lack the kind of definitive safeguards that those opposed to the quango are calling for. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the new charging regime and system of penalties for non-payment was announced in the Dáil:
“Despite all the pre-statement leaking and today’s fanfare around measures designed to make the water charges politically palatable, ultimately we really are no further along the road in terms of quelling the anger of the majority of Irish people.
The Government have not addressed the core issue around the very existence of Irish Water but have chosen instead to copper-fasten that super quango’s future viability at the expense of the Irish citizen.
The proposals around reductions in charges, the cap on costs and the commitment to protect Irish Water from future privatisation will have fallen flat because they reflect the tin ear of the Government’s aspirations and not what people are now looking for; the abolition of Irish Water.
People are sick and tired of Government attempts to sweeten this bitter pill and have I would suggest, to a large extent dismissed today’s actions as political manipulation.
There is simply a total and utter lack of trust in what they are saying.
That erosion of trust, the years of being on the receiving end of broken promises and pledges, pledges given with cast iron assurances let us remember, have brought us to this point.
The Irish people are not unreasonable when it comes to understanding the need to fund our water infrastructure; but they are not prepared to do that while at the same time subsidising through punitive charges the existence of a quango that has become a text book model of how not to establish a so called semi-state body.
The fact that Minister Kelly and the Taoiseach left the Dáil chamber and could not even be bothered to listen to the oppositions replies tells us all we need to know about the depth of the contempt that is operative in this Government,” concluded Deputy McGrath.