Leo Varadkar says Fine Gael has thrown in the towel on water charges and will not campaign for their reintroduction.
The Taoiseach has denied that the scrapping of water charges - or their introduction in the first place - would have avoided the major leak that crippled the Drogheda region this week.
He says no matter what kind of investment there was, or what kind of charges would exist, major leaks can never be avoided.
"I'm sure water pipes burst and they get fixed and that's what happened in Drogheda," he said.
"I think it's probably a bit too simplistic to say if we had had water charges or if we had set up Irish Water 20 years ago the pipes wouldn't break. I'm sure under any system pipes burst on occasion."