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Having opposed water charges in the February election and since, Micheál Martin is quoted in the beginning of May 2016 as saying that people should still pay their latest Irish Water bill.
The history of the water charge issue and Micheál Martin’s role in it is, therefore, interesting. It was in the December 2009 budget speech that minister for finance Brian Lenihan announced that preparations for water charges were being made.
That was followed by the National Recovery Plan in 2010, which included the installation of meters in 1.2m homes connected to the public water mains supply.
The €85bn EU-IMF bailout in November 2010 said that water charges will be introduced in 2012 or 2013, and the responsibility for water will be transferred from local authorities to a new water utility. The €85bn EU-IMF bailout was necessary because the country had gone bankrupt due to the decisions of a small number of its most powerful citizens during the pre-2009 boom years. Among that small number of powerful citizens whose decisions help to bankrupt the country was Micheál Martin.
Among the people who supported the introduction of water charges in 2009 and 2010 was Micheál Martin.
He has played a role in creating the conditions in which water charges were thought necessary.
He has played a role in setting them up and has recommended that they be paid.
Given all that, his recent decision to oppose water charges and to make their suspension a condition of his support for a minority Government is ironic.
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