Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said any failure by the Government to introduce wide ranging and meaningful financial supports for the payment of water charges in this week’s Budget could result in an escalation of social unrest and lead to the chronic inability of the water charges regime to operate at all. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he confronted Labour Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin on RTE’s The week in Politics about the callous stance the Government had taken on the issue thus far:
“In an almost embarrassing and humiliating level of understatement the Minister said he accepted that economically people were “still feeling the pinch”. To describe the financial albatross that is being placed around hundreds of thousands of family’s as feeling the pinch borders on the contemptuous.
Labour have been so caught up in pursuing a radical social agenda that they have clearly lost even the slightest capacity to empathise with the suffering and the anxiety this issue is causing.
They have thrown in their political lot with ruthless Fine Gael policy directives that are generating extraordinary levels of public anger, anger that shows no sign of abating despite the panic we can hear in Government attempts to defuse the matter.
I accept there has to be some degree of charge for the maintenance of such a vital public utility. What I do not accept is placing huge and crippling financial burdens on to the shoulders of the least well off to prop up a Quango that from its inception has been marred by credible accusations of gross over spending and a jobs for the boys culture,” concluded Deputy McGrath.