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07.14 28 Sep 2016


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Fianna Fáil has come under fire for its position on water charges, in the latest Dáil debate on the matter.

It is refusing to support a Sinn Féin motion calling for water to be paid through general taxation - even though that is its own position.

During the debate, Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly said Fianna Fáil had "more positions than the Kama Sutra" on the issue.

But Housing Minister Simon Coveney defended the expert group on water - and said the system did need major investment.

"When I was minister for agriculture, it was made crystal clear to me in conference, after conference, after conference that one of the very few...countries in the world that actually  don't have any predicted security issues; and Ireland is the top of the list," he said.

TDs will vote tomorrow on the motion, which calls for the charges to be funded through general taxes.

Fianna Fáil will oppose the motion, in order to support the Government's expert commission leading to complaints from Sinn Féin.

But Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen says it is Sinn Féin that has shifted position.

"I seem to remember Deputy Ó'Broin recommending and proposing a commission for examining water charges.

"Now that there is one, they want it gone.

"When that same failed regime was brought into force by the last governemnt you said you would pay it - and now you say you wouldn't.

"If you're talking about Kama Sutra and u-turns maybe you could think of Houdini and contortionist in respect of your own stance on this issue".

Earlier, Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó'Broin said we should be looking at investment in water infrastructure and not water charges.

"Problems in our system are not about household waste," he explained on The Pat Kenny Show. "They are about failure of Government to invest centrally in keeping the system up to date.

"What we've proposed for almost a decade now is funded through general taxation, meet the levels of investment required, maintain our zero water poverty rate. We are the only EU member state with zero water poverty rate - that's something we should be proud of," he added.


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