Finian McGrath agrees to pay water charges

He believes the dispute is becoming a distraction in his new role

Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath has agreed to pay his water charges, having refused to pay in the past.

The newly-appointed junior minister was criticised earlier this week for saying he would ask for Attorney General Máire Whelan's advice on the matter. 

In a statement issued yesterday evening, the minister of state with special responsibility for disability issues said his refusal to pay had become "a significant distraction to other important work".

He said "recent government negotiations" which he was involved in had "brought forward a mechanism to review the provision of water and its infrastructure", and that it would be a "matter for Dáil Eireann in due course".

However, he said he continues to find the manner in which Irish Water was set up "personally unacceptable".  

"I’m still deeply sceptical about the motives and the ability of the service to deliver," he said.

"There are also affordability issues too and I certainly felt there was a lack of insight demonstrated by the previous government as regards people’s everyday financial struggles."

In the statement he also highlighted the other issues facing Ireland: "homelessness, health and care of the elderly, cystic fibrosis, education, small businesses and of course rights and services for people with disabilities as well as many other issues."

He said he now find himself to a position where he has "the opportunity to oversee real development and policies in our areas of need".  

"I have a responsibility to try my best to deliver for the people who are relying on me in these areas".