Government loses first vote on Oireachtas Water Committee

One TD has criticised plans to hear from an interest group

Government loses first vote on Oireachtas Water Committee

Staff at Irish Water install water meters in the Bramblefields Estate in Dublin 15 in 2013 | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Government has been beaten in the first vote held by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water.

Fine Gael was beaten in a vote on whether to hear evidence from the Right2Water group.

But opposition TDs grouped together and ensured that the witnesses will be heard next Tuesday in a 12-6 vote.

The vote provides the first indication of the minority Government's weakened position on the committee.

Committee member, and chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon criticised the move as “antics”.

“Fianna Fáil is effectively holding up the work of the Committee, which is not in the public interest”, he said.

“In voting with the hard left to invite an interest group, ‘Right2Water’, into the Water Committee, Fianna Fáil is effectively going to delay the work of the committee.

“When the Oireachtas Water Committee was set up, Minister Coveney ensured it had a full representation of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

“Accordingly all view points on water are represented on this Committee through the work of public representatives.

“The mandate we have is to hear from experts in the field and come to a consensus on the basis of fact.

“We do not need interest groups wielding agendas, be it on the pro or anti water charges side of the debate, coming in to tell us what we already know their position to be.”