Connaughton slams ‘lucky bag’ politics from FF

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In a hard-hitting response to the speech made by the leader of Fianna Fáil, Mr. Micheál Martin TD, at the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis last weekend, Deputy Paul Connaughton said it was simply astounding the policy u-turn that Fianna Fáil is now making on the issue of water charges.

Speaking during his key note address to Fianna Fáil delegates at Saturday night’s Árd Fheis, Mr. Martin said, ‘We will scrap Irish Water and the failed, loss-making charge which funds it.’

Deputy Connaughton said, ‘This appears to be one of the greatest policy u-turns any political party has engaged in, given that it was official Fianna Fáil policy to introduce water charges since the Troika were allowed to determine the destiny of our citizens in 2010. Not alone does Fianna Fáil appear to have abandoned its own stance on water charges, but it consistently backed the principal of water charges whilst in opposition during the lifetime of this Government, which makes a mockery of the party’s insistence that they will not engage in ‘auction politics’ during the forthcoming general election campaign.’

‘In my view Fianna Fáil is approaching the ranks of the Anti-Austerity groups and Sinn Fein, who are against everything and for nothing. I fully understand the anger and frustration that many people felt about the water charges, despite the relatively low cost levied on the average household. I believe that most householders in Ireland, both in urban and rural areas, now recognise that unless there is a seismic increase in the investment in water infrastructure in the near future, job creation will be severely compromised and the health status of the nation will be put in jeopardy.’

Deputy Connaughton said this latest move by Fianna Fáil is likely to infuriate the 61% of households who have paid their dues to Irish Water and there are encouraging signs that huge numbers of others are preparing to pay.

‘The about turn by Fianna Fáil reveals the party’s real fear of all the anti-austerity parties and Independents who will never clarify where the billions of euro needed to provide individual householders and industry with ample supplies of good clean water will come from.’

Deputy Connaughton said that it smacks of ‘lucky bag’ politics and he asked that all anti-government candidates be asked at the doorsteps where they would leverage the money from to pay for the new water schemes that are necessary and at the same time achieve a reduction personal taxes which they all seem to aspire to.