Divided Dáil: Fianna Fáil puts Irish Water at the heart of negotiation document

Fianna Fáil has put Irish Water front and centre in a negotiation document given to Independent TDs which is in stark contrast to Fine Gael.

The focus on Irish water in the Fianna Fáil paper, which sets out a time-frame of costed targets, is at odds with Fine Gael which did not mention water in the 122-page document issued to Independents TDs this week.

The contentious issue of water charges along with USC, health and the provision of houses by Nama could provide for some heated discussions between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who finally met last night.

Fianna Fáil provided a shorter document to the 15 Independent TDs still in talks on government formation, however, this has more targets with specific costings and time-frames for introducing measures.

The document includes promises to introduce a first-time buyers’ scheme, to tax sweetened drinks from next January, and to increase the rural GP allowance to €25,000.

The first item addressed in the 26-page document is to end water charges within six months — saving households €160 per year.

Within 18 months Fianna Fáil has promised to abolish Irish Water at a cost of €9.4m to create a “new slimmed down agency”.

Independent Alliance member Shane Ross yesterday described the Fianna Fáil draft as “more specific, less general, less of a vision” than the Fine Gael paper..

Independent Alliance member Shane Ross
Independent Alliance member Shane Ross

However, he said that Independents are expecting to receive more documents from Mr Martin’s party in the coming days after last night’s initial talks with Enda Kenny.

Fianna Fáil has also committed to passing a bill regulating vulture funds which they published in March.

It promises to renegotiate Nama’s housing plan to increase the number of social/ affordable housing to 20% of new Nama-led developments.

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