Sinn Fein water claims laughable as meter scheme rolled out across North – Whelan
“As usual, the party who promotes the ideal of one island are peddling two separate policies either side of the border.”
Sinn Fein’s claim that only they will abolish water charges is laughable given that they have repeatedly failed to permanently abolish water charges in government in Northern Ireland.
From 2007 to 2011, then Sinn Fein Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, had the opportunity to reverse water metering but made no attempt to do so. Under his watch, a comprehensive water metering programme took place across domestic properties in Northern Ireland.
In fact, this metering programme continues across Northern Ireland, with ongoing media reports of tens of thousands of meters being installed in preparation for water charges.
For four years Murphy threatened to rule out water charges on a permanent basis. But he did not do so.
Instead Northern Ireland has been treated to an annual series of deferrals and they have again been postponed until May 2016.
Indeed, Northern Ireland Water has been forced to deny claims that water charges are imminent after sending out a series of “how do you want to pay” letters to householders.
Yet again Sinn Fein are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. They do one thing in government in the North and say another thing down South, terrified of being outflanked by the hard left on water charges.
What is clear, however, is that their inaction on water meters in government in the North pours cold water on any of their populist claims on water charges down South.
Likewise the SF environment spokesperson, Brian Stanley – whose credentials on the environment, environmental protection, planning, and building standards are threadbare – also proposes to abolish Irish Water nut establish a different Irish Water.
He is not explaining what he intends to do with the thousands of former local authority staff and water services workers who were transferred to the new public utility.
Neither does Stanley explain where he will get the money to repair and replace the Victorian water pipes and creaking sewerage infrastructure, which pose a serious contamination threat to public water supplies, our inland waterways and beaches.
Nor does he explain how Sinn Fein will fund investment in vital water services infrastructure to ensure a safe, secure and sustainable supply for communities.
One critical piece of water infrastructure, the Garryhinch Reservoir in Stanley’s own constituency, requires such capital investment.
But as Stanley and his SF cohorts try to have it every way, they are undermining the Bord na Mona project. They are denying the people of the Midlands significant job creation and a critical project which would serve as an employment hub and an economic driver in a region that is crying out for such investment.
As usual the party who promotes the ideal of one island are peddling two separate policies either side of the border.