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“Kelly must immediately review Irish Water legislation,” McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the new Minister for the Environment Community and Local Government Alan Kelly to immediately revisit the legislation underpinning the creation of Irish Water, particularly in relation to areas requiring exemptions from charges:

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“While I wish Minister Kelly well in his new portfolio, he will have no time to lose in trying to come to terms with the almighty mess that his predecessor left behind on any number of issues.

Certainly chief among these is the existing crisis in social housing, but there are also serious questions surrounding the capacity of Irish Water to provide much needed and fair exemptions from water charges.

In terms of South Tipperary I would say this applies most especially to ensuring the successful completion of Burncourt/Fethard Regional Supply Scheme but there is also the urgent need to come to grips with the appalling levels of hard water in Clonmel north and the seeming inability of Irish Water to engage with the problem of broken sewers or water pipes inside residents property lines.

There is clear evidence that given the blind-spots which have emerged since the Irish Water quango took control of the country’s water infrastructure that necessary legislative safeguards were not put in place.

I am therefore calling on Minister Kelly to do all that he can to guarantee more fair and balanced legislation around the area of water charges. I certainly hope he does not continue with the attitude of his predecessor who simply dismissed the hard water problem by saying it was perfectly ok for people to drink it!

Minister Kelly would also do well to re-examine the dreadful democratic deficit that has been created under the Local Government Reform Act. That piece of legislation alone stands in need of comprehensive review.

I am certainly willing to work with Minister Kelly on any of these issues and cooperate where cooperation is possible. That being said, in relation to all of these matters we simply cannot have a repeat of the style of Ministerial authority we had under Minister Hogan.

The department is there to ensure a fair and equitable delivery of services and local authority governance, it is not there to bolster the political ambition of any given Minister, be he or she from Fine Gael or Labour,” concluded Deputy McGrath.