Sinn Féin commission on Irish Water 'cannot' recommend keeping water charges

Sinn Féin commission on Irish Water 'cannot' recommend keeping water charges

By Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter

Sinn Féin would not accept the outcome of its own Independent commission on Irish Water unless it rules in favour of scrapping charges.

However, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said that the terms of reference for such an investigation would be set so tightly that it would be impossible to recommend keeping water charges.

Asked how the party would respond if the commission found in favour of retaining water charges he said: “They cannot do that”.

In a bizarre analogy Mr Adams compared the investigation to a home renovation.

Mr Adams said: “If you want to convert my kitchen, you give me the terms of reference, you tell me the type of kitchen I want, you tell me the price I want so on and so forth and I am obliged to handle that, you don’t go and make my kitchen into a dining room.

“Every commission or every agency which is put in place to perform a job of work does so under terms of reference which are set to it.”

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin last month announced that the party would set up an independent commission to examine the best way to deliver water services.

Sinn Féin commission on Irish Water 'cannot' recommend keeping water charges

The Dublin Mid-West TD told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that this investigation would be set up to find the “best possible model of public ownership”.

However, speaking on the plinth of Leinster house this morning Mr Adams made it clear that the party would only accept one outcome and would frame the investigation in such a manner to guarantee that outcome.

“We have made it very, very clear that we are going to scrap water charges, we have made it very, very clear that we are going to scrap Uisce Eireann.

“The commission would be set up under very, very strict terms of reference which would be about which is the best model for public ownership of that right of people to water.

“All these commissions, all of these bodies which are set up to do certain jobs of work are given terms of reference.

“So the terms of reference are, [would be based on] what’s the best public model for ownership for water and for water as a human right for citizens.

“We are very firmly of the view that you pay for water charges already, you already pay for water,” Mr Adams said.

He also refused to say whether the party would support a Fianna Fáil bill to suspend water charges and scrap Irish Water, adding that they would have to look at the details of the bill.

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