Joe O’Toole blames FF for his resignation over water comments

Joe O’Toole resigns over interviews in which he said he favoured water charges

Joe O'Toole, who was forced to stand aside yesterday as chair of an expert commission examining water charges, has blamed Fianna Fáil for his resignation.

Mr O’Toole announced his resignation after a series of controversial interviews in which he said he favoured the principle of paying for water.

He insisted he retained the support of Minister for Housing Simon Coveney. "That was until Minister Coveney informed me that the main Opposition party would not co-operate with Government on this and related issues for as long as I remained in the chair.

“Effectively then for me to remain in situ would result in the Government being spancelled in implementing policy and enacting legislation.”


Fianna Fáil had called on Mr O’Toole to reflect on his position and claimed his position was inappropriate.

It is understood the party's housing spokesman Barry Cowen spoke to Mr Coveney and articulated that position.

Mr Cowen said Mr O’Toole had done the right thing in stepping aside but said the party took no pleasure in his departure. “The decision of the chair to pre-empt any examination of the facts and promote his personal view of what should happen next is clearly incompatible with the role he was appointed to,” said Mr Cowen.

“It is Joe’s activities since his appointment that have led to today.”

Mr Cowen did not comment on whether his party forced Mr O’Toole’s resignation but confirmed he had told Mr Coveney of his party’s concerns.

Sinn Féin and the Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit Alliance welcomed Mr O'Toole's decision.

Predetermined outcome

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD

Paul Murphy

said the commission should now be abolished.

He said the body had a predetermined outcome and claimed Mr O’Toole’s comments reflected that. “The problem was not that Joe O’Toole had an opinion on water charges or whether he had paid his water charges,” Mr Murphy said.

“The problem was that he used his position as chair of this position on three occasions in three different interviews to propagate the view that water charges were a good thing and that we should have water charges.”