Irish Water Commission hobbled by EU before it even gets off the ground

Foreword


Below is an mind-boggling RTE News item which was aired tonight.  It is a statement from Minister Simon Coveney which he gave after returning from a meeting in Brussels with the EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella. 

The reason for Mr Coveney's journey to the admin capital of the European Union was to inform the EU Commissioner that Dáil Éireann agreed to suspend water charges for at least nine months and in the meantime the Government, as part of the programme for government agreed with Fianna Fail, was setting up an 'Independent'  Water Commission in Ireland to look into the controversial water issue.

Although we in Buncrana Together see the aforementioned water commission as a delaying tactic by Fine Gael, kicking the issue down the roadhoping that opposition will evaporate, it is unbelievable the hard neck, the shameless audacity that Mr Coveney demonstrates by bringing back home these Brussels threats. 

Talk about hobbling a horse, he more or less is telling the so called independent commission of experts that they have to come up with an answer that Brussels wants.  Nearly every line in this statement is incredible.


 

RTE News Friday 08 July 2016 22.59

Expert Commission on Water Charges can not ignore EU rules, says Coveney

Simon Coveney held a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels today

Simon Coveney held a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels today

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney has said the Expert Commission on Water Charges will "not be able to ignore" the European Commission's insistence that Ireland will be in breach of a key EU directive if it abolishes water charges.

However, he said that after its deliberations the Expert Commission will have to make its own "independent" conclusions.

Speaking following a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels, Mr Coveney said the expert group was "about reasurring the public that this isn't a political decision" when it makes its final recommendations in four or five months' time.

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney has said the Expert Commission on Water Charges will "not be able to ignore" the European Commission's insistence that Ireland will be in breach of a key EU directive if it abolishes water charges.

However, he said that after its deliberations the Expert Commission will have to make its own "independent" conclusions.

Speaking following a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels, Mr Coveney said the expert group was "about reassuring the public that this isn't a political decision" when it makes its final recommendations in four or five months' time.

However, he added: "The Commission did outline, in very clear terms, what their position is, in relation to whether or not Ireland can apply for a derogation to charging for domestic water supplies under the Water Framework Directive and it's very consistent with what they've been saying to MEPs when they've asked questions on this issue," said Mr Coveney.

He said it was a "good and frank discussion".

He said that Brussels would follow the Expert Commission process "with real interest and look at the outcomes when they come out".

He added: "The Expert Commission is about reassuring the public that this isn't a political decision. This is about Ireland fulfilling it's obligations under the Water Framework Directive and, what I would like is the independence of the [Expert] Commission to come with solutions and the reasons why they need to make them."

However, Mr Coveney acknowledged that the "[European] Commission's view is that water charges in some form are required for Ireland to fulfill its obligations under the Water Framework Directive."

He said he hoped that the Expert Commission process would come to its conclusions "without the heated political input and debate that we've seen around water debates for the past two years".

RTE News Friday 08 July 2016 22.59