Water charges commission will not hold public meetings due to ‘time constraints’

The commission set up to examine water charges has confirmed that it will hold all meetings behind closed doors, despite initial signs that there would be public hearings.

The admission comes after claims the submission period was rushed and, after the resignation of its former chairman Joe O’Toole.

The Irish Examiner has learned that all hearings will be in private due to “time constraints”.

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has been told by the commission authorities: “Given the time constraints of the commission’s work, there are no plans to host public hearings, however, it may decide to meet with some representative groups at some stage in the future.”

The commission also defended its decision to seek submissions during the month of August, at the height of the holiday period.

“The commission is required to present its report by end November 2016,” it said.

“In order to meet that deadline, the commission will have to have completed its deliberations in early November so as to allow sufficient time for drafting, etc.”

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin
Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin

Before resigning, Mr O’Toole said he expected to hold public hearings.

The commission is examining the future of water charges and its report will be examined by a committee before TDs vote on the matter.

Mr Ó Broin said: “Neither the Government nor their partners in Fianna Fáil who agreed to this nor the commission have any interest in the view of other political parties or the public.

“This is nothing short of sham exercise and the so-called independent commission has absolutely no credibility.”


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