Dáil Sketch: Pouring cold water on communal bathing

Radox ruled out for those with private wells, and tap end disputes considered

Conservation was on the minds of some TDs as water charges again dominated Dáil proceedings yesterday.

Sinn Féin’s Seán Crowe attempted to be helpful. “If one does not flush the toilet, one might save some water,’’ he said. “One could avoid running the bath and skip having a shower the odd day.’’

Crowe looked across at Minister Alex White who was manning the Government benches. "The Minister is nodding his head,'' said Crowe.

The Sinn Féin TD was on a roll. “When washing one’s teeth, do not rinse,’’ he advised. “Do not wash the windows, it might allow clarity in.’’


The Minister was not nodding this time. “One might be able to see out,’’ he remarked.

Schoolchildren on a visit to Leinster House looked on from the public gallery.

Crowe suggested people could drink beer rather than water, explaining it was a common practice in the Middle Ages.

“Those in a better financial position than ourselves might not fill their swimming pools,’’ he said. “They could fill the hot tub with rainwater.’’

He suggested “one could eat cake, one would not have to boil one’s spuds or pasta’’.

Crowe warned about a future of shared showers and baths. “In case my wife is listening, I do not want the tap end,’’ he added.

Crowe’s Sinn Féin colleague Jonathan O’Brien accused the Government of making “a balls of things’’ in Wednesday’s announcement. When White suggested his language was less than parliamentary, O’Brien said it was a “slang term’’ in his native Cork. There was nothing offensive about it, he added.

The Minister did not seem too upset. White suggested the children in the public gallery could probably tell the House a great deal more about conserving water, “whether by showering less, not filling a kettle when it is not needed …’’

The children must have returned to their school flattered.

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen told Tánaiste Joan Burton he was glad to see Labour taking ownership of Irish Water which, he said, was a Fine Gael love child. Burton suggested that if this were true, Fianna Fáil had a hand in its conception.

Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher was critical of the largesse that was about to come his way. "The bottom line is that I will receive €100 from Irish Water because I have a private well and a septic tank,'' he explained. "I will be paid €100 by the Government some time next year that I did not seek and which I do not really need.''

There were others, he said, who might need that kind of assistance in some other way, adding that he would be paid €2 every Saturday night for his bath. “Why does the Government not supply the Radox while it is at it,’’ he said.

Government sources were last night ruling out a supply of Radox for the Cork deputy, insisting Fianna Fáil was beyond cleansing and needed a cold shower instead.

The water controversy flows on.