Water Services Bill – Final Stage

Posted November 9th, 2017

Yesterday I brought the Water Bill through its final stage in the Dáil. You can read my closing statement below or watch the video here.

I will not delay the Bill much longer. I thank Deputies for their co-operation in dealing with it in the past few months. I thank the water charges committee for the extensive work it did, as well as the expert group and the joint Oireachtas committee for the time they took to consider the Bill. I do not view it as a victory for the people. I view it as political parties and politicians trying to use the issue to score points for their own political gain against a Government that is trying to recover an economy and a country. It is a great disservice to the public they claim to represent. After the general election in 2016, we had to put a Government together. That meant putting stability above populism, which is exactly what Fine Gael sought to do. Nevertheless, I hope the Bill will settle the matter for a number of years.

We have a single utility in Irish Water. Regardless of whatever people might like to think about the good work it has already done, it has done good work. It has proved itself in a number of instances in the work it is doing to help people who previously had been subject to “boil water” notices, to repair extensive parts of the water mains and infrastructure that had not been repaired previously and to help in times of crisis, including when Storm Ophelia struck in restoring people’s water supplies, being part of the national emergency co-ordination group and working with ESB Networks to make sure the water infrastructure power supply was prioritised in those few days.

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