Rather than give interpretations of Fianna Fáil's submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services, we thought it best to include the whole document so you can read it for yourselves.
You may be aware that the 20 member Joint Committee on Funding Domestic Water Services has reached what seems to be an impasse, 10/10 on whether to totally scrap water charges and metering or not, (see breakdown here), unless one of the four nonpartisan members of the Committee who have sided with Fine Gael's proposal i.e Jan O'Sullivan, Labour, Grace O'Sullivan, Green Party, Noel Grealish, Ind, and chairman Pádraig O Céidigh change their vote.
There now is an extension to the deadline until Monday week, to try to finalise a report which will then go to a vote in the Dáil. However, there are some rumours that this deadline may not be definitive and might be stretched out for weeks, even to May according to the Irish Examiner.
We believe that it is ridiculous to drag this process out any longer. If any of the above mentioned members of the Committee had regard for democracy they should agree with this proposal and send it to Dáil Éireann for a democratic decision. Let the Dáil decide.
In our opinion the intervention of EU Commissioners and Fine Gael Ministers is disingenuous, misleading and bordering on subverting the democratic process. They are merely putting forward their interpretation of EU law with the intention of frightening people into submission. It would be ridiculous if it had to go as far as the European Court of Justice (CJEU) for adjudication but in relation to EU law the CJEU is the only arbiter not EU Commissioners or Simon Coveney.
Finally let us say that we broadly agree with Fianna Fáil's submission. Our major reservation would be around theIrish Water Ltd and water infrastructure. However, that is not part of the remit of the Committee and can wait for another day.