Minister Alan Kelly under fire from fellow Tipp TDs

Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly.
Opposition Tipperary TDs have called on under-fire Minster Alan Kelly to listen to people on the water charges issue.

Opposition Tipperary TDs have called on under-fire Minster Alan Kelly to listen to people on the water charges issue.

After clashing in the Dail last week during the water charge debate with Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, the Minister for the Environment has also been challenged by Deputy Seamus Healy.

Deputy McGrath, after accepting an apology from the Tipperary Minister following the issuing of an expletive in the Dail, said Minister Kelly should listen instead of using abusive language.

Deputy Seamus Healy called on Minister Kelly to take action now to renew an exemption Ireland holds from directly charging for domestic water under EU Law which runs out in January.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that he accepted Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s apology after the Minister told him to ‘F’ off during a Dáil debate on changes to the water charges legislation.

Deputy McGrath said the Minister made the expletive remark after he failed to respond his challenge on the inability of Irish Water to proceed as a viable entity and the farcical nature of the Minister’s handling of the crisis

“My own Private Members Bill for example has the potential to save families multiples of the water charges by reducing call out fees.By choosing to ignore these measures and then waltz in to the Dáil like some latter day John F Kennedy wannabe speaking about his legacy will do nothing but secure Minister Kelly’s position as a footnote in Dáil history,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

Deputy Seamus Healy said Minister Kelly was about to give away the exemption Ireland holds from directly charging for domestic water under EU Law.

“Unless he desists and renews Ireland’s exemption by January 1st 2015, it will lapse. This will make it more difficult for future governments to abolish direct charges for domestic water.

He called on Minister Kelly to immediately renew the exemption so that the power to charge or not to charge for domestic water will remain with the Irish people and the Dáil into the future.

“This government has no mandate to give away our exemption from domestic water charges. The Labour Party promised in the last election that it would prevent Fine Gael from introducing domestic water charges. Now a Labour Minister is not only introducing the charges but is giving away the power of our parliament to abolish them in future. Irish democracy is being undermined by Minister Kelly and his government” he said.

In a statement Minister Kelly said the idea that Ireland is about to sign away its exemption for domestic charging under the EU Water Framework Directive was a work of fiction.

“Whatever exemption we may have had in the past would have expired because of three key developments. Under the Fianna-Fail led government in 2010, the then Environment Minister, John Gormley, committed to the introduction of domestic water charges. The introduction of water charges was a condition of Troika financial support. The passing of the water services act 2013 committed to introducing domestic water charges,” he said.