Cllr Niamh Smyth.
Cllr Niamh Smyth.
Local election candidate for Bailieborough Cllr Niamh Smyth has slammed the Government’s “dishonesty” over “so-called ‘new investment’ in water services”.
The Fianna Failer says that the announcement of investment of €1.7BN over three years amounts to just under €600 million a year – “the same amount that is currently being spent on maintaining water network. It’s also €500 million a year less than the Government’s own report recommends is invested in water services”.
“This is nothing more than a PR stunt ahead of next week’s elections,” says the 2009 poll-topper.
“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 Cllr Smyth.
“The Environment Minister Phil Hogan must be taken to task for this blatant dishonesty. We have serious deficiencies in our water network in Cavan, with far too much water being lost through leaks and outdated infrastructure. What we are now learning is that despite Cavan 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.
“All the way along, Minister Hogan has attempted to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes about what’s being spent on setting up his new super quango and where that money is going. The very first task of Irish Water was supposed to be carrying out a full audit of the water network and identifying 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,” she said.