Tipp Council rejects a “Thumbs Down” to water charges

Members of Tipperary County Council have spurned an opportunity to call on the government to stop the introduction of water charges.

Members of Tipperary County Council have spurned an opportunity to call on the government to stop the introduction of water charges.

By twenty four votes to fourteen, members voted against a motion asking them to support a call on the government to stop the introduction of the water charges.

Cllr. Jim Ryan’s motion was rejected as were two motions tabled by Sinn Fein calling for the abolition of Irish Water (17/17 and rejected on the casting vote of chairman Michael Fitzgerald) and for the PPS (28/7) numbers sent to Irish Water to be returned and for those that sent the numbers to be discounted from the total signed up to Irish Water. A motion tabled by Cllr. Pat English (WUAG) calling for water charges to be abolished and a referendum to prevent privatisation was also tabled.

Cllr. Jim Ryan (Independent) said he wanted a vote on his motion as he felt the people of Tipperary had a right to know the views of the members.

Cllr. Pat English said the government underestimated the anger and frustration of people who were already paying for services in their taxes.

Independent member Andy Moloney said he was supporting the motion to abolish charges as the water supply provided to the public was not “fit for service”. He knew of an eighty three year old woman who was without water since last Friday.

“The whole thing is a money making exercise. Press I, Press 2, Press 3, is all people hear when they ring up. Irish Water is going to make more out of telephone charges then water charges,” he said .

Cllr. Richie Molloy (Independent), justifying his support for the motion, said there was a serious issue in Clonmel with a large number of householders on the northern side of the town receiving a poor quality water supply. Fellow Clonmel councillor Siobhan Ambrose made the same point as she highlighted the anger in the area over the water supply.

Cllr.Martin Browne (Sinn Fein) said people were already paying for water through increases in motor taxation and the VAT rate. People are really struggling to meet their bills and that is why hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets.

Catherine Carey (Sinn Fein) said four generations of her family had been out in protest about water charges in Clonmel and they would be getting on a bus on Wednesday to take part in the Dublin march.

Cllr. David Dunne (Sinn Fein) said he was not going to support super quangos and bonus schemes that were part of the Irish Water set up.

Cllr. David Doran (Sinn Fein) said no government or political party was going to quell the rise of the ordinary people who cannot affort to live any more.

Independent Cllr Denis Leahy said Irish Water brought all the trouble on itself. It was an unjust charge and people had enough.

Fine Gael’s Cllr. Michael Murphy said he opposed the motion. While agreeing the service was not “fit for purpose”, the only way to achieve such a scenario was to raise funds so that investment can be made to improve facilities. The only way to resolve the hard water problem in Clonmel was the funding of a major works scheme.

Chairman Michael Fitzgerald said the authority had no say whatsover whether Irish Water had a future or whether water charges were introduced.

He described the motions as a stunt to force people to vote one way or another. He appreciated people had a right to march but he had to also represent the hundreds of thousands who did not march. He was not in the business of giving false promises or false hopes to people by the passing of such motions.

Independent Cllr.Eddie O’Meara said he could not support the motion calling to halt water charge. He felt people were prepared to pay a reasonable charge for water. Cllr. Marie Murphy (FG) said she could not agree with the motion to halt water charges as the Burncourt area was receiving a substantial investment in water infrastructure.