Chairman of newly selected commission Joe O'Toole should resign says Anti Austerity Alliance

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has called for newly appointed chairman of the Water Commission Joe O’Toole to resign from his position saying that he is clearly biased in favour of water charges and therefore unfit to chair the commission.

 Newly selected chairperson of Irish Government's Water Commission Joe O'Toole

Newly selected chairperson of Irish Government's Water Commission Joe O'Toole

In the interview on Newstalk this morning, O’Toole said that ‘central taxation is not enough to pay for it’, that the Commission was a ‘political exercise’, which would look for a solution which would ‘have enough sugar on it to make the medicine go down easily’ after the result of the general election which saw 70% of TDs returned to the Dáil who were either in favour of scrapping water charges or suspending them.

Paul Murphy TD said “After Joe O’Toole’s comments on Newstalk this morning, his appointment and position as the chairman of the Water Commission is now completely untenable.

“The interview which he gave this morning shows that he is clearly in favour of water charges and biased. He clearly rejects the idea of paying for the provision of water through central taxation and is therefore in favour of charges.

“His comments that he would be looking at ‘the work Revenue have done and would draw on that’ fundamentally exposes that for him this is about how you collect water charges rather than whether charging is the correct model.

“This fatally undermines his position when the reason for the setting up of this commission has been that through mass protest, boycott and the elections people have rejected charging for water.

Mick Barry TD said “Joe O’Toole’s previous comments on water charges in the Seanad show that he is unsuitable to chair the Commission.

“As early as 2010, he had welcomed a proposal by Siemens to provide water meters which would be funded through water charges. He is a safe pair of hands for the government and Simon Coveney to deliver the verdict they want on the need for water charges.

“He also said that this was a ‘political exercise’ to find a method of having ‘enough sugar’ on water charges for people to accept them. For us and the vast majority of people, this Commission has no credibility. It has been set up to get the result which the government wants. The Dáil was democratically elected four months ago and has a mandate to get rid of water charges and that is where the decision should be made”