Sinn Féin to force FF and FG to vote together over Irish Water
Party will table motion calling for water charges to be suspended and utility scrapped
Sinn Fein spokesman on water Eoin Ó Broin said the figures released by Irish Water yesterday, which showed a dramatic fall in payment, displayed the opposition to the charges. Photograph: Eric Luke
The party will use its Private Members’ time to call for water charges to be immediately suspended and for the water utility to be scrapped.
The motion also calls for a referendum to be held on public ownership of the company.
The Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit and a number of Independent TDs are expected to support the proposal.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will be forced to vote against the Private Members’ motion.
The two parties have agreed to suspend water charges while an independent commission examines the charging regime. However, the utility will remain under the agreement reached by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Sinn Féin’s spokesman on water Eoin Ó Broin said the figures released by Irish Water yesterday, which showed a dramatic fall in payment, displayed the opposition to the charges.
He said: “In the election last February, the majority of people voted to scrap water charges and abolish Irish Water. More than 90 TDs were elected on a mandate to scrap water charges.
“Next week Sinn Féin will use our Private Members’ time to table a motion signed by 39 Right 2 Water TDs to scrap Irish Water and end water charges. The figures released today once again highlight popular opposition to this unfair and unjust tax. The Government should move to scrap it immediately.”
AgreementThe agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael pledged to introduce legislation within six weeks to suspend the charges. The Fianna Fáil environment spokesman, Barry Cowen, said the Sinn Féin motion was “playing to the gallery”.
Mr Cowen said: “Fianna Fáil has committed to addressing this issue in a real and meaningful way. Tabling this motion is an attempt by Sinn Féin to undermine the potential for a stable Government. The charges will be suspended as per the agreement with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.”
The Labour Party yesterday published its legislation proposing the Constitution be amended to provide for certain public utilities to remain in public ownership, including Irish Water and the ESB.