Sinn Féin accuse FG and FF of ‘cute-hoorism’ in water deal

Taoiseach tells McDonald ‘You want everything for nothing and pay for nothing’

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cobbled together a deal that seeks to subvert the will of the people, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has claimed.

Ms McDonald told Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “The people faced you down on water charges. They called a halt to your plans, your privatisation agenda.”

She claimed the Government called in legal advisers who gave advice that totally contradicted the advice of a week earlier and was in line with what the Government wanted.

In a sharply worded attack on both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, she said Tuesday’s cobbled together report confirmed the parties’ confidence and supply agreement was really a deal for “connivance and cute-hoorism”.


She said a deal had been on the verge of being made but Fianna Fail engaged in a “spectacular u-turn” on water charges that showed they could not be trusted.

But the Taoiseach congratulated her for her “cynical outrage”.

He insisted it was “fantasy” for Ms McDonald to say the Government had a privatisation agenda.

The Taoiseach said it was nonsense but “she was at it again”.

“I come from a part of the world where hundreds of thousands of people welcomed and waited for access to water for a very long time and have always paid for it,” he said.

“You live in a world where when the tap is turned on somebody else has paid for it.”

Mr Kenny also said Ms McDonald’s whole team was not about a solution but “lack of further protest available to you”.

He said Sinn Féin’s “entire political system is based on outrage, cynicism and protest.”

Mr Kenny said he believed in water meters but “you want everything for nothing”.

He added that she might be attacking Fianna Fáil but at least the party had the courage to come to a decision.

Ms McDonald said the Taoiseach should not be worried about her outrage but of that of people who paid their taxes and paid for everything.

“There is nobody is looking for something for nothing,” she said.

“What was at issue was who prevailed in a democratic society.”

She said what they had seen “is a text book example of parliament, of the Dáil, of elected representatives conniving to abandon their democratic mandate and rather than seeking to represent the people, seeking to face the people down.”

Ms McDonald asked again who were the chronic water wasters and how would they pay these levies.

Mr Kenny said Ms McDonald had asked a very important questions: “Who prevails in a democratic society? The answer is the majority.”

He said a decision was made by the majority to set up an Oireachtas committee and examine the expert review, and they had made their recommendations.

The Minister for Housing would now introduce legislation and that was “democracy in action”, he said.

Mr Kenny noted that Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was not in the Dáil but in the North, and he said it was time for the party to engage with the DUP to form an executive to deal with the serious issues that had to be worked on and not to be carrying on “with this nonsense”.

He said the committee had agreed a report and legislation would now be worked on based on that report, “despite your protest, despite your cynicism, despite your false outrage. You want everything for nothing and pay for nothing.”

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times