"That is a question for the next government" - Former junior minister on water charges

The Taoiseach says people still should pay their water bills

Kathleen Lynch, Enda Kenny, Irish Water, water charges, Taoiseach, opposition, new government, Simon Coveney

Kathleen Lynch pictured at the Budget 2016 press briefing | Image: RollingNews.ie

Former junior minister Kathleen Lynch says any questions in relation to Irish Water are no longer questions for her.

"The people have clearly said that what they want is not what was there before, and those people now have a responsibility to step up to the plate and form a government," she told Newstalk Lunchtime.

"This is what being elected means".

She also hit out at proposed opposition plans, saying: "That all takes money - now I don't know where they intend that money to come from".

"But then that's the question for them...they are now the chosen ones and they now have a responsibility to form a government".

"I think Sinn Féin in particular has to step up to the plate now and tell us how they intend to implement these things".

The union SIPTU says it has written to Ervia - the parent company of Irish Water - asking why the projected €7bn cost of winding up Irish Water was not made known to the public prior to the general election.

An internal document seen by the Irish Times claims the abolition of Irish Water by a new government would cost the State up to €7bn over the next five years.

Secretary of the group of unions at Ervia, Adrian Kane, said: "In our letter to the CEO of Ervia we ask on behalf of SIPTU members to know when the information on the wind up costs of Irish Water became known to the company and why this information was not disclosed prior to the general election".

"Staff at Irish Water are tired of having their livelihoods completely ignored in the debate about the future of the company".

He added: "That the cost of winding up Irish Water would amount to up to €7bn is crucial to an informed debate on its future".

"This sum amounts to about two-thirds of the money that will be available for re-building the public health service, developing the education system and funding a major public housing programme, if the economy grows, in accordance with projections, over the next five years".

SIPTU also says it will oppose any forced redundancies across the Ervia group.

"Yes they should pay their bills"

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny meanwhile says people still should pay their water bills.

His remarks come after Minister Simon Coveney said Fine Gael would "certainly be willing to talk about water".

"Simon Coveney was correct in what he said in that Fine Gael - as the largest party in this Dáil - want to move on to put in place a process to form a government, and part of that is we are be prepared to listen to all groups and like-minded parties that have views about how that should happen", Mr Kenny said.

"I want to say in respect of Irish Water that I think it would be a seriously costly and seriously historic mistake to move away from having a single, national utility that will provide water and clean water for the country, and for the future".

"There's a fundamental issue for Fine Gael here - that you have a single, national utility for water and that you have a fair and affordable contribution regime", he added.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr Kenny says while Mr Coveney was correct Irish Water will be here to stay under Fine Gael.