Fianna Fáil local election candidate for Galway City East Alan Cheevers has slammed what he has called the Government’s “dishonesty over the so-called ‘new investment’ in water services”.
Mr Cheevers has pointed out that last week’s announcement of investment of €1.7 billion over three years amounts to just under €600 million a year – the same amount that is currently being spent on maintaining the water network. “It’s also €500 million a year less than the Government’s own report recommends should be invested in water services.”
He said that this is “nothing more than a PR stunt” ahead of this week’s elections. “It represents absolutely no new spending on our water services. Irish Water made the announcement amid great fanfare, but what people have failed to recognise is that it does not amount to one single cent of new investment. It’s exactly what was being spent on the water network anyway, before this Government came into office and before Irish Water was established,” said Mr Cheevers.
“The Environment Minister Phil Hogan must be taken to task for this blatant dishonesty. We have serious deficiencies in our water network in Galway, with far too much water being lost through leakages, not to mention the problems we have had with cryptosporidium and boiled water notices. What we are now learning is that despite Galway families facing water bills of over €500 a year from next year, ‘investment’ in the water network will be the exact same as current levels. Why should any Galway family pay for water when they must boil water before they can drink it?”
Mr Cheevers said Minister Hogan is attempting to play down the true cost of water charges and has been “completely dishonest” about what households will get in return.
“Galway households cannot be expected to pay hundreds of euro a year for their water without seeing any improvement whatsoever in the service they receive. The very first task of Irish Water was to carry out a full audit of the water network and identify problems that need investment. Two years later that still hasn’t happened, so Minister Hogan’s answer is to pretend that extra money is being invested in the network just so his party can salvage some votes in next week’s elections. It’s a deeply dishonest and cynical move and further evidence of the Government neglecting the best interests of households in this process.”