Fianna Fáil TDs have hardened in their stance on Irish Water, insisting the utility be abolished and water charges suspended.
At a hastily convened meeting of the party yesterday at Leinster House, TDs and senators voiced opposition to any weakening on the party’s stance on charges.
They said their manifesto must be their benchmark and several TDs said they were deeply unhappy with what is currently on the table.
“We feel if Fine Gael are the ones going into office, they have to give way more to us. What is the point in us compromising if we are in Opposition and getting nothing,” said one TD.
Several rural TDs said, with some passion, they had gone to the people arguing that Irish Water would be scrapped. Galway TD Anne Rabbitte insisted the party remain steadfast to that commitment.
Earlier reports that a broad outline of a deal has been reached between the two sides were rejected by several Fianna Fáil TDs.
It was reported that Irish Water will remain a national utility, but will change from a commercial semi-state to a State agency.
Fine Gael wants a national utility to remain in place, while Fianna Fáil wants Irish Water abolished.
Fianna Fáil’s election position was that it wanted water charges suspended for five years while Fine Gael maintains that paying for water in some form is fundamental.
At the meeting, Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin told members he was satisfied to support Fine Gael from opposition. But he was pressed about how this arrangement would work.
TDs raised questions about potential motions of confidence in government and Mr Martin told them they had no duty to support ministers.
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