Lack of debate on Water Services Bill lashed

Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson and Laois/Offaly TD Barry Cowen has asked the Taoiseach to explain why no time has yet been allocated to debate the Water Services Bill 2013 in the Dáil and why it is going straight to the Seanad.

Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson and Laois/Offaly TD Barry Cowen has asked the Taoiseach to explain why no time has yet been allocated to debate the Water Services Bill 2013 in the Dáil and why it is going straight to the Seanad.

Deputy Cowen raised the matter on the Order of Business in the Dáil before the Bill goes before the Seanad.

“Is this merely a new found love for the Seanad or is it a case of ‘Hoganomics - just making things up as you go along?” Deputy Cowen asked the Taoiseach.

“So many questions remain about what this legislation will mean for homeowners in terms of the cost of metering, the extent of metering, what they may have to pay for a meter and how much they will have to pay in water charges at the end of it all.  There is also confusion over where and when we will see the 2,000 jobs the Government promised from water metering. The Dáil needs to be given an opportunity to debate these issues and have these very important questions answered by the Environment Minister Phil Hogan”

Speaking afterwards Deputy Cowen said the Taoiseach fudged the issue and failed to provide any timeline for a Dáil discussion on this important piece of legislation.

“From the outset, the Government has created total confusion and uncertainty about what this legislation means for homeowners.  We’ve had conflicting reports about the metering process, the timeline for roll out, how many homes will actually be suitable for metering and how much this whole plan will end up costing families.  

“This latest move of bringing the Bill directly before the Seanad and failing to provide any reasonable explanation for this in the Dáil is just more of the same.  It becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that Government is just making it up as it goes along.  It’s a continuation the Hoganomics that resulted in chaos over the household charge, caused distress over inequitable property taxes, and is creating total confusion over new water services legislation.”