Publish party’s legal advice - Fianna Fáil on water charges

IT IS, of course, entirely subjective whether you describe Fianna Fáil’s latest position on water charges as practical, credible politics or the very worst kind of populism. Whatever way you add it up though it doesn’t add up.

In a submission to the expert commission on domestic public water services — one of those kick-to-touch, wait-and-sees so beloved by our governments — the party argues that water should be paid for through general taxation. However, the submission does not suggest how much “ordinary taxes” might have to be increased by to revive our chronically dilapidated water services or try to undo some the appalling abuse of our environment brought about by inadequate water or sewage treatment plants. The recent outbreak of cryptosporidium in Lough Mask and the ensuing boil notices are just the latest example of this wilful neglect. Neither does it suggest which services might be cut to fund water services. It tacitly, and bizarrely, suggests that water might be a cost-free commodity.

Fianna Fáil does though suggest it has legal advice that refutes the European Commission’s warning that Ireland faces substantial penalties because of the decision to suspend water charges. The party has, however, declined to publish that advice. That refusal is as bizarre as anything in the sorry, embarrassing saga of water charges in Ireland — and that from our would-be leaders?

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